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.

Digital Inclusion

Sub-Saharan Africa has world's most expensive data prices

Article Image
Sub-Saharan Africa still has the most expensive data prices in the world. The region has six out of the ten most expensive countries in the world for 1GB of mobile data, including the highest priced, Equatorial Guinea; with Sudan the only African country among the top ten cheapest in the world.

This according to the Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2021 report from Cable.co.uk, which compared the cost of 1GB of mobile data across 6,148 mobile data plans in 230 countries.

Sub-Saharan Africa ranked as the most expensive region with the average price for 1GB of mobile data coming in at $6.44. Next most expensive was Oceania at $5.51 and then South America at $5.25.

Average regional price of 1GB of mobile data
Source: Cable.co.uk's Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2021 report.

The data was gathered and analyzed by Cable.co.uk between December 8, 2020, and February 25, 2021.

Out of all African countries only Sudan featured in the top ten cheapest counties in the world, in 5th place, with 1GB of mobile data costing $0.27 on average.

The region also has some of the priciest data in the world, with Equatorial Guinea the most expensive ($49.67) in 230th place. It is followed by Saint Helena ($39.87), São Tomé and Príncipe ($30.97), Malawi ($25.46), Chad ($23.33) and Namibia ($22.37) at the bottom of the table.

African data prices
Source: Cable.co.uk's Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2021 report.

Northern affordability

On the other end of the spectrum is North Africa with the cheapest regional average of just $1.53 per GB.

All but one of the seven North African countries are in the cheapest half of the table.

Algeria is the cheapest in North Africa at $0.51 per GB and 16th cheapest in the world. North Africa's most expensive country was Mauritania ($5.56), the only country in the region to exceed the global average of $4.07.

"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," said Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk.

Israel came out as the cheapest country in which to buy mobile data, with the average cost of 1GB at just $0.05. The most expensive country, Equatorial Guinea, was nearly a thousand times more expensive than Israel with 1GB costing $49.67.

"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," Howdle added.

Somalia and Ghana ranked well in 22nd and 27th place respectively while Nigeria was not far behind in 43rd place. Kenya was further down the list in 118th place and South Africa fared poorly in 136th place.

Africa's rankings

Data source: Cable.co.uk's Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2021 report.
Data source: Cable.co.uk's Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2021 report.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Cable.co.uk's Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2021 report.

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

SA's smart city finalists win big for innovation

South Africa's City of Johannesburg's Smart City Office has awarded four innovators R500,000 (US$31,434) for their innovative solutions.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Data science marketplace Zindi

This month's hot startup is social enterprise Zindi, which is a professional network for data science in Africa.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: May 2022

By Omdia Analysts

SpaceX-owned Starlink's plans to launch a satellite broadband service in Africa was a major highlight in May 2022, says Omdia's analysts.

Story

Omdia View: April 2022

By Omdia Analysts

This month's Omdia View highlights indicate a shift to digital transformation and operational consolidation to maximize return on investments.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Africa Green ICT: Lighting Up a Sustainable Continent

The ICT industry is the leading industry in the commitment to carbon neutrality, whose focus has shifted from setting ambitious targets to taking initiatives. The push for zero-carbon and for green energy development, it isn't just about CSR – it's also good for sustainable business.

The path to sustainable development requires green energy. Governments are looking at potential policy approaches to make green energy more widely available and affordable. Without sustainable energy, there will be no digital transformation and no chance of making Africa more economically competitive in the post-pandemic era.

Africa Green ICT Webinar 2022 will bring together ICT industry leaders and senior industrial analysts to provide insight, best practices and key learnings on how to achieve zero-carbon targets and practice green development in Africa.

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

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

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up