Sub-Saharan Africa is home to countries with the cheapest and most expensive mobile data in the world, a new report indicates.
According to the report authored by UK-based broadband research firm Cable and published by WeeTracker, Zimbabwe tops the list of countries with the most expensive data, with 1 gigabyte (GB) costing USD 75 per month.
It is followed by Equatorial Guinea where one 1 gigabyte (GB) costs USD 66, Saint Helena (USD 55) and Djibouti (USD 38).
The data from 6,313 mobile data plans in 230 countries, which was analysed between 23 October and 28 November 2018, also indicates that Rwanda is among countries with the cheapest data in the world.
The report indicates that in Rwanda, 1 GB costs USD 0.56, followed by Sudan USD 0.68, the Democratic Republic of Congo USD 0.88.
Overall, India has the cheapest mobile data in the whole world, with Indians paying a staggering average of just USD 0.26, a cost that is 289 times cheaper than that of Zimbabwe.
After India, Kyrgyzstan is the second country with the cheapest mobile data rates with 1 GB costing USD 0.27.
It’s followed by Kazakhstan USD 0.49 and Ukraine USD 0.51 in third and fourth place, with Russia 12th on the list with an average 1GB cost of USD 0.91.
For other African countries, the average cost of mobile data in Zambia, Lesotho and Tanzania is USD2.25, USD 2.43 and USD 7.51 per 1GB respectively.
In North Africa, Egypt is the cheapest at USD 1.49 per 1GB, while Algeria is the most expensive in the region at USD 5.15 on average.
The cost of buying 1GB in South Africa, on average, amounts to USD 7.19.
Dan Howdle, a consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, explains the price variations.
“Many of the cheapest countries in which to buy mobile data fall roughly into one of two categories. Some have excellent mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure and so providers are able to offer large amounts of data, which brings down the price per gigabyte. Others with less advanced broadband networks are heavily reliant on mobile data and the economy dictates that prices must be low, as that’s what people can afford,” Howdle is quoted by WeeTracker as saying.
“At the more expensive end of the list, we have countries where often the infrastructure isn’t great but also where consumption is very small. People are often buying data packages of just tens of megabytes at a time, making a gigabyte a relatively large and therefore expensive amount of data to buy. Many countries in the middle of the list have good infrastructure and competitive mobile markets, and while their prices aren’t among the cheapest in the world they wouldn’t necessarily be considered expensive by its consumers,” he adds.