Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

FinTech

Somalia has Africa's cheapest data prices

Article Image
It may come as a surprise, but the cheapest data prices in Africa are in Somalia, which falls into the top ten countries with the cheapest rates globally. This is according to a 2020 study from Cable.co.uk which ranked Somalia as the seventh cheapest globally with 1GB of data costing on average just $0.50.

The amazing thing is the massive jump that Somalia made from the 2019 report where it ranked 133rd with an average price of $6.19 per 1GB.

Telecom services have grown substantially in Somalia over the past ten years and low data prices may be because of the strong competition in the market with at least 11 different providers operating locally.

In 2020, the researchers measured 25 data plans in the country and found the cheapest price for 1GB was $0.18 while the most expensive one would cost $6.67.

Somalia's prices are far lower than its neighbors Kenya ($1.05) which came 41st; Djibouti ($1.12) which was in 48th place; or Ethiopia ($2.44) which was in 94th place and where there is still a monopoly on telecom services.

Other African countries did, however, feature on the cheaper side of the scale with Sudan ($0.63) following in 13th place and Algeria ($0.65) in 15th place. In fact, eight out of the top 50 cheapest countries in the world for mobile data are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

But it's a continent of contrasts and Africa also boasted five out of the ten most expensive countries, with the island of Saint Helena the most expensive in the world ($52.50), joined by São Tomé and Príncipe ($28.26), Malawi ($27.41), Benin ($27.22) and Chad ($23.33).

Cable.co.uk gathered data from 5,554 mobile data plans in 228 countries in early 2020 and found that the cheapest prices were in India ($0.09), Israel ($0.11) and Kyrgyzstan ($0.21).

Mobile Money culture
Somalia also has a strong culture of using mobile money. A 2018 World Bank report found that almost three-quarters of the Somali population aged 16 and older use mobile money.

In urban areas, mobile money penetration is at around 83% and at about 72% in camps for internally displaced people. Even in rural areas, 55% of the population uses mobile money and it has "become an essential and widespread part of Somalia's economic eco-system" the World Bank said.

Somalia's biggest telecoms operator, Hormuud Telecom, recently said it plans to expand its mobile money financial services to reach all of the Somali population.

Hormuud's CEO, Ahmed Mohamud Yuusuf, said that the low data prices are a testimony to the huge strides that the country has taken to increase its digital infrastructure.

"The next step in our journey is to reach 100% mobile money penetration. We know that mobile money is vital to Somalia's post-COVID development, allowing urban and rural communities to flourish, empowering the most vulnerable and widening financial inclusion," he said in a statement.

"More recently we've also seen how incredibly important access to telecoms and Internet has been to public health during the COVID-19 outbreak."

Mobile money is popular in the country where over 95% of the local currency – the Somali Shilling – is believed to be counterfeit. For a country long affected by civil war and unrest, mobile solutions have provided the foundations for business and trade to once again emerge in the country.

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Hot startup of the month: SA's Snode

This month's hot startup is South African company Snode, which is applying a data-driven approach to cybersecurity.

Story

Twitter announces first African office in Ghana, begins hiring

Twitter has announced it is planning to open an office in Accra, the Ghanaian capital – the first in Africa for the social media giant.

More Innovation hub

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: April 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context around Ethiopia's spectrum licensing process, Millicom's plans to exit Tanzania and Ghana, and Airtel Africa's successful capital raise.

Story

Factors influencing fintech adoption in Nigeria

By Yusuf Opeyemi Akinwale and Adam Konto Kyari

This article is a collaboration with the African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development and explores the factors impacting the adoption of financial services technology in Lagos, Nigeria.

More Guest Perspectives

Flash poll

All polls

AfricaCom perspectives

Story

Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

Story

Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Story

How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Latest video

More videos

Upcoming events

More Upcoming events

Partner perspectives

The moving target that is telecoms fraud
By Clémentine Fournier, Regional VP Sales, Africa, BICS

How mobile operators in Africa can address signalling threats and secure the network
By Katia Gonzalez, Head of Fraud and Security at BICS

SD-WAN and satellite – how MNOs and telcos can enjoy the best of both worlds
By Ofer Asif, SVP BizDev, marketing and strategy at Spacecom

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up