Last Updated: August 3, 2020
We take mobile internet for granted.
How much does mobile data cost around the world in 2020?
This Map Shows the Mobile Data Cost Around the World
First, we’ll give you a glimpse into the global data market.
We here, at SpendMeNot.com, decided to dig deeper and find the price of mobile data around the world.
This is how much 1 GB of data costs in every country around the world:
You take out your smartphone. You check your friends on social media. You read the news. You send selfies to your loved ones. It doesn’t cost you much. The average price of 1 GB of mobile data worldwide is $8.53. You probably pay less than that.
But there are countries where mobile internet is much more expensive. A gigabyte of data can cost up to $140.
Mobile data has revolutionized the way we live. With its rise, old industries started disappearing, so new ones grew in their place.
It is important to keep in mind that throughout history, the prices of mobile data have changed. They are still going through modifications. Some areas of the world pay more, and some pay less, depending on various factors – continents, availability, etc.
Countries with the Highest Mobile Data Prices
Once we have the global data, we can point out the countries where mobile internet costs the most.
Some of them are popular tourist destinations. Some are in the middle of economic turmoil. Some are prosperous and rich.
If you plan on visiting any of them, make sure you bring extra cash to cover your data cost.
Average price of 1GB: $75.2
On top of our list is Zimbabwe – a small African country that has been dealing with economic meltdown for years.
A gigabyte of mobile data costs over $75. That is basically unbearable for a substantial part of Zimbabwe’s population. Nevertheless, most Zimbabweans seem to access the internet via mobile devices due to the lack of other IT infrastructure.
But why does data cost so much in Zimbabwe?
One notable reason is inflation.
According to the International Monetary Fund, inflation in Zimbabwe has soared to 300% in 2019. This makes it very hard for mobile carriers to abstain from price hikes.
2. Equatorial Guinea
Average price of 1GB: $65.83
It sounds like a joke.
It’s anything but.
Due to its oil production, Equatorial Guinea is one of the richest countries in Africa in terms of GDP per capita. And yet, average internet costs are unbearable even for many high-income households in the country.
Only about a quarter of locals have internet access. The reason is a combination of high prices and the lack of infrastructure.
This again sounds like a joke as Equatorial Guinea is situated near some undersea internet cables. According to news reports, internet use remains low because the local government controls supply. It refuses to let internet providers enter the market.
3. Saint Helena
Average price of 1GB: $55.47
If Napoleon was still in exile in Saint Helena, high mobile data prices would have killed him.
This remote island, known for being the last home of the famous French emperor, has some of the highest data prices in the world.
Saint Helena, with a population of about 4,500, relies on a single satellite dish for access to communications. The island’s only telecommunications operator Sure South Atlantic sells internet access at prices that are too expensive for most households.
4. Falkland Islands
Average price of 1GB: $47,39
Sure South Atlantic is the only mobile carrier on this archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean. In the absence of competition, the average cost of internet can be excruciating.
Which doesn’t mean that the locals have no access to the Web. On the contrary! The Falkland Islands are among the countries with the highest internet penetration in the world.
Average price of 1GB: $37.92
We have some good and some bad news.
Let’s begin with the good news. Djibouti is considered one of the most connected countries in the Horn of Africa.
Now the bad news. Despite good connectivity to international cables, both fixed-line and mobile internet is expensive.
How much does data cost in Djibouti?
You could be charged almost $38 for a single gigabyte of mobile data.
To some extent, insufficient infrastructure is to blame for high prices in Djibouti.
Another reason is the lack of competition. The government-controlled Djibouti Telecom is the only telecommunications provider in the country. With no other telecoms to push prices down, mobile data remains a fancy commodity.
Average price of 1GB: $37.92
Have you ever heard of the Bermuda Triangle and how ships and aircraft have disappeared there?
Try downloading something on your phone while in Bermuda. It will be your money that will disappear.
Bermuda has no shortage of infrastructure and telecommunications providers. However, our internet price comparison shows this island territory has some of the most expensive data plans in the world.
An example: a postpaid plan with 2GB of mobile data, unlimited calls and other perks like a phone discount will cost you as much as $105/month.
Average price of 1GB: $32.71
The fact that this beautiful country has the highest charges in Europe is somewhat jaw-dropping.
How much does 1 GB of data cost in Greece?
Well above $30 on average.
It isn’t clear what constitutes high mobile data prices in Greece. There are three mobile operators in the country, and mobile internet penetration was over 40% back in 2016.
Whatever the reason, if Homer was alive, he would have tweeted a poem about the country’s high mobile data rates.
Average price of 1GB: $30.09
Samoa is a group of islands cast away in the middle of the South Pacific ocean. With a population of just 200,000 people, it’s not a big surprise that mobile data comes at a price.
Samoans enjoy the presence of two mobile operators in the country. It gives some room for competition and possibly price decreases in the future.
But how much is 1GB of data on a smartphone in Samoa? I’ll give you an example.
You can get a postpaid plan with 4GB of mobile data from Digicel, one of the country’s carriers. It will cost you $250.
This means you pay about $62 per 1GB of mobile data.
However, keep in mind that this price includes voice calls and SMS, as well as some bonus data for emails.
Average price of 1GB: $29.96
Exploring internet prices around the world brings us to Tokelau.
This tiny island territory in the South Pacific is unique in so many ways. Its population consists of just 1500 people. With a GDP of around $10 million, It has the world’s smallest economy.
It is the world’s first 100% solar powered nation.
However, using mobile data in Tokelau is a pain in the ass.
Government-controlled operator Teletok launched its first 4G network in Tokelau in 2017. It started operating after years of delays. It allowed locals to browse the web on their mobile phones.
But as the ranking suggests, data cost is still high.
Average price of 1GB: $28.13
Nauru is known as Pleasant Island. Apparently, the name stuck before mobile internet was introduced in the country. There isn’t anything pleasant in paying over $28 on average per gigabyte of data.
In 2015, Nauru’s government famously blocked access to a few popular websites, including Facebook. The official reason for this act was to protect locals from pornographic content. However, human rights activists referred to the ban as “censorship”. It was eventually lifted in 2018.
But with mobile internet plans costing a fortune, who’d want to browse Facebook on their phones anyway?
11. Wallis and Fortuna
Average price of 1GB: $26.86
Next in our list is Wallis and Fortuna, a group of islands in the South Pacific with a population of less than 12,000.
The means of electronic communication are scarce in Wallis and Fortuna. Locals didn’t have broadband internet until 2007, and the development of the first mobile network began in 2014.
According to Finder, accessing the internet with a mobile connection may be one of the toughest things to achieve in Wallis and Fortuna. Manuia is the only mobile carrier in the country, offering both a 3G network for voice and text and 4G connection for data.
There is only one shop where you can buy a SIM card, and it closes in the afternoon. So you’ll have to be lucky enough to be on the same island (or find a way to get there). And find the shop before it closes. And agree to pay the data prices.
You might as well try sending a letter in a bottle.
12. Cayman Islands
Average price of 1GB: $26.79
Unlike other islands in this list, the Cayman Islands do have some advantages in terms of telecommunications. There is access to undersea cables, satellite communications, and a competitive mobile-cellular market.
Nevertheless, the cost of internet per month is substantial.
According to the CIA World Factbook, the Cayman Islands are the 41st richest economy in the world in terms of GDP per capita. You should take this with a grain of salt as it is based on 2004 data.
And by the way, $26.79 is the average price per gigabyte. But some plans charge as much as $143 per 1 GB, which is the highest price in Cable’s list.
Word of wisdom: if you’re going to the Cayman Islands, be ready to pay extra for connectivity.
Average price of 1GB: $25.52
Tonga is an archipelago consisting of over 160 islands. Less than a third of them are populated.
Like any island nation, Tongas have to pay high prices for mobile internet. The average price for a gigabyte of data is about $25.5, but some plans can go as high as $54.
So why is mobile data so expensive in Tonga?
Even though it’s not cut off from the world, Tonga lags behind some other island nations in terms of communications. With a population of around 100,000, the country doesn’t even have area codes. So it’s no surprise that mobile data charges are high.
But then again, why would you go to such a beautiful place and spend your time poking your phone?
Average price of 1GB: $23.33
Next on our internet price by country list is Chad. Three mobile carriers are operating in the country with a population of about 15 million.
Despite its oil exports, Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world. This makes mobile data charges unaffordable for a substantial part of the population.
As if this isn’t enough, the government of Chad blocked access to social media in 2018. According to the country’s president Idriss Deby, this was done for security reasons.
However, human rights advocates say it is in fact censorship. They see the block as a countermeasure against demonstrations and unrest.
The ban was eventually lifted in 2019.
15. Turks and Caicos Islands
Average price of 1GB: $23.09
This group of tropical islands is known as a tourist destination and an offshore financial zone. You will enjoy the warm weather there, although the price of internet access is kind of chilling.
But look on the bright side! The Turks and Caicos Islands are an amazing place with astonishing beaches and crystal-clear water. Why would you waste your time browsing the web once you’re there?
16. French Polynesia
Average price of 1GB: $21.64
Even though it’s in the middle of the ocean, French Polynesia has a decent telecommunications infrastructure.
There is an undersea cable providing high-speed broadband internet. According to BuddeComm, broadband penetration is relatively high. Households seem to enjoy fiber-to-the-home technology which provides fast connection.
Alas, the cost of internet is high. There used to be 3 mobile carriers in French Polynesia, but one of them went bankrupt. That left Vini and Vodafone as the only players on the market.
Average price of 1GB: $20.99
Fixed-line broadband is used by only 12% of Benin’s population. The reason is fixed-line networks in the African country rely on aging infrastructure. This hurts internet speed and availability.
Most internet users in the country turn to mobile connections.
There are two mobile operators in Benin. It seems that this is not enough to bring down the average cost for internet access.
Average price of 1GB: $20.25
There are 3 mobile operators in Cyprus, which should be more than enough for the country’s population of just over 1 million people.
Unfortunately, competition doesn’t seem to be effective enough to drag down mobile data charges. At $20.25, the average price of a gigabyte of mobile data is still considerably higher than the world average.
Average price of 1GB: $20.22
What words come to your mind when you hear Switzerland?
Banks? Watches? Chocolate?
Tourists visiting Switzerland will probably add “high mobile data charges” to the list. With a price tag of just over $20, this European country makes it in the top 20 of our Internet costs by country research.
There are 3 mobile carriers in Switzerland, and there is no shortage of postpaid and prepaid plans. Still, the average price of a gigabyte of mobile data is one of the highest in Europe.
Average price of 1GB: $19.81
The government of Turkmenistan has control over the country’s media and telecommunications, including Turkmen Telecom, the dominant mobile carrier. The other telecom, MTS Turkmenistan, is a private company, but it has a small share of the market.
About a decade ago, government control was one of the reasons for the slow growth of Turkmenistan’s telecommunications sector.
Things have changed since then. Turkmenistan has a mobile penetration rate of about 60%, according to GSMA. We’re yet to see whether this will lower the cost per gigabyte.
As the world turns mobile, more people use their smartphones to access the web. But high internet prices can cripple the economy. Limited internet access makes it harder for consumers to buy things, find jobs, and make financial decisions.
Mobile data charges depend on geography, infrastructure, and competition. While it’s hard for a country to change its location, new technologies and better market entry conditions can lower prices.
This concludes our mobile data cost around the world research.
Enjoy a safe (and hopefully cheap!) stay online.
See you around on SpendMeNot.com, guys!