99% of Indians have to buy phones at full price, the concept of career subsidies is unheard of (except one carrier 5-10 years ago that decided to rip people off, thus destroying the very concept in people's minds. [Yes Reliance, I am looking at you]).
Again 75-80% consumers are on Prepaid SIMs. Not because they have bad credit (though many do), but because due to some twist of fate, prepaid was always cheaper.
This is what I pay for my Mobile access (I don't make many calls): $4 every 3 months. This is a minimum recharge to keep my connection alive.
It costs $0.02-$0.04 to talk anywhere in India, per minute. But my plan charges it per-second so if I talk for 6s (I reached safely, got to run, bye), I get charged $0.002.
This was only possible, because a previous government, decided to throw open the sector to competition. I have 3 Major and 3 minor players who are ready to hand me a mobile connection. i.e 6 players in every region. Until a few years ago, they were slitting each other's throats for getting customers.
We as a democracy, decided to throw out that government. Brought in a bunch of corrupt people (who promised us the moon) and those 6 players will soon turn to 2-3 players via mergers.
The ONLY WAY the US can have better mobile telephony, is to increase competition. Simple. Nothing beats competition.