Mobile Data Cost Around the World

We take mobile internet for granted.

How much does mobile data cost around the world?

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:

Made with Visme Infographic Maker

Mobile data has revolutionized the way we live. With its rise, old industries started disappearing, so new ones grew in their place.

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.

And there are countries like Israel, where a gigabyte of data costs as low as $0.05. But would you be surprised to find out that the same basket is priced almost $50 elsewhere in the world. Where? Hold on, we will get there.

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 mobile data cost.

For the list below, we used 2021 research from Cable.co.uk. The price comparison site gathers data for SIM-only mobile plans that often also include calls and texts. Thus, the average price of 1GB of mobile data may not reflect the actual price paid by consumers. Using a different methodology, Research ICT Africa’s database comprises of lowest mobile data basket prices collected for each mobile operator in the reviewed country. This explains the discrepancy you’ll notice in some of the following entries.

With that in mind and without further ado, let’s see where mobile data costs the most!

1. Equatorial Guinea

(Source: Cable, Research ICT Africa)

Average price of 1GB: $49.67

Lowest 1GB basket price available: $4.48

According to Research ICT Africa, MTN offers the cheapest 1GB of data in Equatorial Guinea, priced at $4.48. Yet the average is high enough to put the country at the top of our list.

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 the supply. It refuses to let internet providers enter the market.

2. The Falkland Islands

(Source: Cable, Sure South Atlantic)

Average price of 1GB: $44.56

Lowest 1GB basket price available: $24.97

Sure South Atlantic is the only mobile carrier on this archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean. In the absence of competition, the average internet cost 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 rates in the world.

3. Saint Helena

(Source: Cable)

Average price of 1GB: $39.87

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. Sao Tome and Principe

(Source: Cable, Research ICT Africa)

Average price of 1GB: $30.97

Lowest 1GB basket price available: $9.92

Around 33% of Sao Tome and Principe residents have access to the internet, while just 1% have their own fast internet connection (more than 256 kbit/s).

Unlike some East African large regions with growing economies, remote islands such as Sao Tome and Principe don’t have the purchasing power to build the fibre infrastructure needed to serve consumers. So, the country still relies on an expensive and inefficient satellite connection.

5. Malawi

(Source: Cable, Research ICT Africa)

Average price of 1GB: $25.46

Lowest 1GB basket price available: $3.00

In Malawi, 1GB of data costs 87% of gross national income per capita. According to the United Nations, the equivalent cost should not exceed 2%.

Although there has been a significant improvement in Malawi’s internet penetration rate, from 9.6% in 2016 to 20.2% in 2022, the internet remains unaffordable for most residents of the East African nation.

6. Chad

(Source: Cable, Research ICT Africa)

Average price of 1GB: $23.33

Lowest 1GB basket price available: $17.10

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.

7. Namibia

(Source: Cable, Research ICT Africa)

Average price of 1GB: $22.37

Lowest 1GB basket price available: $10.50

Namibia was one of the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa to gain full Internet connectivity. For this reason, Namibia has a large internet user base compared to similarly populated countries in Africa. As of 2022, Namibia’s internet penetration rate stood at 51%.

But the country still lags behind in terms of affordability. According to the Digital Quality of Life 2021 study, Namibians have to work more than 14 minutes to afford the cheapest 1GB mobile data package. This is four minutes more than the worldwide average.

8. Turkmenistan

(Source: Cable)

Average price of 1GB: $21.41

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.

9. Tokelau

(Source: Cable)

Average price of 1GB: $20.48

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 1,500 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 costly.

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.

10. Bermuda

(Source: Cable)

Average price of 1GB: $19.80

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.

11. Yemen

(Source: Cable)

Average price of 1GB: $15.98

Less than a third of Yemen’s population is connected to the internet. Mobile coverage is patchy and largely limited to 2G and 3G technology.

The poor service is largely due to the ongoing civil war which has not just directly damaged the infrastructure but has also discouraged private investment in the country. And the lack of adequate competition in the sector keeps prices high.

12. Cocos (Keeling) Islands

(Source: Cable)

Average price of 1GB: $13.47

Set deep within the Indian Ocean, the Australian territory of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands consists of two atolls and 27 coral islands, but only two of them are inhabited.

At the start of 2022, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands population stood at 544. Just over 76% of them used the internet. While high, this rate represents just 414 people and the price internet users pay for the connection is among the highest in the world.

14. Cayman Islands

(Source: Cable)

Average price of 1GB: $11.97

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 the 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, $11.97 is the average price per gigabyte. But some plans charge as much as $41.48 per 1 GB.

Word of wisdom: if you’re going to the Cayman Islands, be ready to pay extra for connectivity.

15. Caribbean Netherlands

(Source: Cable)

Average price of 1GB: $10.94

The Caribbean Netherlands are the three special municipalities of the Netherlands that are located in the Caribbean Sea.

In the whole Caribbean region, the affordability of 1 GB of data is likely to be well below 4.7% of average monthly income and should be closer to the United Nations threshold of 2% of average monthly income.

16. Kiribati

(Source: Cable)

Average price of 1GB: $9.94

In Kiribati, one of the world’s most remote regions, many people remain completely cut off. The internet penetration rate stood at 14.6% of the total population at the start of 2022.

A gigabyte of mobile data costs almost $10. That is basically unbearable for a substantial part of Kiribati’s population, whose average monthly salary is just around $300.

17. Virgin Islands (British)

(Source: Cable)

Average price of 1GB: $9.54

Part of a volcanic archipelago in the Caribbean, this British overseas territory comprises four main islands and many smaller ones. With a population of just 30,500 people, it’s not a big surprise that mobile data comes at a price.

Residents enjoy the presence of three mobile operators. This gives some room for competition and possibly price decreases in the future.

18. Central African Republic

(Source: Cable, Research ICT Africa)

Average price of 1GB: $9.03

Lowest 1GB basket price available: $10.06

Africa’s internet access is seven times more expensive than that of European peers when adjusted for income level. And the least affordable country for mobile broadband is the Central African Republic, where 1 GB of data is priced at 24.4% of gross net income per capita.

19. Cyprus

(Source: Cable)

Average price of 1GB: $8.84

There are three 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 $8.84, the average price of a gigabyte of mobile data is still higher than the global average.

20. Seychelles

(Source: Cable, Research ICT Africa)

Average price of 1GB: $8.64

Lowest 1GB basket price available: $17.42

Last on our list is the Republic of Seychelles with a population of less than 100,000. The archipelagic island country in the Indian Ocean has a relatively high internet penetration rate of nearly 80%.

As a popular tourist destination, the Seychelles has invested in internet connectivity. Most resorts and hotels have free WiFi, which is rare for an African country.

But while 1GB of mobile data costs $8.64, on average (or at least $17.42, according to Research ICT Africa’s observations), the Seychelles ranks high in another chart. With an internet speed of 26.76Mbps, the country is third in terms of slowest data in Africa.

Wrap Up

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!

ABOUT AUTHOR

Christo is a bachelor in Economics, but he found a passion for crafting web content. He sees SpendMeNot as an opportunity to create engaging articles and help readers make informed financial decisions.

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2 Comments

  1. These stats are wrong and you didn’t present any proof. I’m from Zimbabwe, 10gb is 10usd meaning 1gb=1usd

  2. In Ascension Island it’s 100$/GB. It’s 20GBP for 250mb being more expensive than even Saint Helena!! To buy a SIM card plus 250mb it’s 50$usd

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