More than half of the world’s population rely on their mobile phone on a daily basis. Even in a highly competitive market, mobile networks have continued to broaden their reach. Almost a billion extra people have gained access to mobile data services in the last five years alone.
Despite the increasing Prevalence of these networks globally, the cost of gaining access – particularly mobile data – can vary greatly from country to country.
If you would like to know the average price of one gigabyte of data in other countries, then this article is for you. This chart uses data from Cable.co.uk to show what network providers charge for 1GB of data in 155 different countries and jurisdictions.
Despite the ever-expanding global reach of the mobile economy, it’s clear that it’s not anywhere near complete accessibility.
Table of Contents
- Differences in mobile data cost
- The cheapest countries for 1GB of data
- The most expensive countries for 1 GB of Data
- The full breakdown
- The technology gap
Differences in mobile data cost
Study authors have pinpointed several vital factors that influence the variations in mobile data rates between countries.
- Available infrastructure (or lack of it): this might sound contradictory, but most service providers rely on a fixed-line connection. Therefore, countries with available infrastructure are able to offer mobile plans with more data and at cheaper rates. This is the case for Italy and India. At the same time, countries with little or no infrastructure rely on more expensive connection alternatives like satellites.
- Reliance on mobile data: When the primary source of internet in a certain region is mobile data, adoption can become nearly universal. This increased demand typically results in an increase in competing providers, which in turn reduces the cost. An excellent example of this is Kyrgyzstan.
- Low data consumption: countries that have poor infrastructures tend to use fewer data. The average cost of data in such regions may skew higher since the available mobile plans offer smaller data limits. Example of companies under this category is Benin and Malawi.
- The average income of consumer: Mobile services are relatively higher in wealthy nations since most part of the population can afford to pay more; the operating cost for service providers are higher. This is apparent in countries like Germany and Canada.
The cheapest countries for 1GB of data
The cost variation among the cheapest countries for mobile data is still significant. Here’s is a list of the top five cheapest countries for one gigabyte of data.
|Overall Rank||Country||Average price of 1GB (USD)|
India is at the number one spot a $0.09 per GB, which is a 65% drop in price compared to the country’s average price in 2019.
But the big question is, why is data so cheap in India? A major factor is the country’s fierce market competition, influenced by Reliance Jio – a telecom company owned by one of the largest conglomerates in India, Reliance Industries.
Launched in 2016, Reliance Jio started offering customers free trial periods and plans for less than a dollar per month. This pushed other providers to drop their pricing, crumbling the overall cost of data in the region.
But India’s cheaper-than-usual prices may soon come to an end since the prices are likely unsustainable in the long term.
Another country worth mentioning is Kyrgyzstan, ranking at the third spot with $0.21 per GB, ahead of Italy and Ukraine. This ranking comes as a shock, given the region’s minimal fixed-line infrastructure and overpopulated rural setting.
Researchers believe the low cost is as a result of the country’s heavy reliance on mobile data as the major source of internet.
The most expensive countries for 1 GB of Data
Making the top five list of most expensive countries for one gigabyte of data are.
|Overall Rank||Country||Average price of 1GB (USD)|
A major player behind the high price of data in SSA is its lack of infrastructure. With overworked networks, the data bundles offered in the region are generally smaller. This results in a spike in the average cost per GB compared to countries with unlimited packages.
Another factor that influences the high costs in SSA is its lack of market competition. Countries with multiple competing network providers like Nigeria tend to have reduced cost.
The full breakdown
The table below has a comprehensive list of all 155 countries and jurisdictions included in the research. It helps showcase the stark contrast in the price of mobile data between the cheapest and most expensive countries globally.
|Rank||Country||Average price of 1GB (USD)|
|92||Bosnia and Herzegovina||$3.04|
|103||United Arab Emirates||$3.78|
|131||Papua New Guinea||$5.40|
|133||Trinidad and Tobago||$5.92|
|139||Central African Republic||$8.25|
Fascinatingly, the cheapest average cost is 30.000% less than the highest average price.
The technology gap
Will we continue to see an increase in the technology gap between countries, or will we attain a point of equal accessibility across the globe?
With the adoption of 5G networks, just seven countries are expected to constitute the majority of 5G-related investments. Only time will tell what this means for global adoption.