The world's most affordable mobile internet is in north Africa

Algeria has Africa's cheapest mobile internet as most African nations recorded improvements in data affordability in the past one year.
Will the world ever achieve universal mobile data affordability?
Will the world ever achieve universal mobile data affordability?
Photo: REUTERS | CINDY LIU (Reuters)
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If you’re looking to spend the least in mobile internet, then any of the seven northern African nations will be a good choice, according to data published by UK-based internet affordability analysis firm Cable.

The Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2022 index which analyzed the average cost of one gigabyte (1GB) of mobile internet from over 5,000 mobile data plans in 233 territories found that of all 13 regions it surveyed, northern Africa leads in mobile data affordability at an average price of $1.05.

Cost of mobile internet in Africa

“All but one of the seven north African countries are in the cheapest half of the table. All countries in this region are cheaper than the global average of $3.12. Algeria is the cheapest at $0.48,” the study shows. The other six nations are Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Western Sahara, Libya, and Mauritania.

Northern America, despite its progress in technology, is the place where you’ll pay the highest in the world to purchase internet data bundles at $4.98, followed by sub-Saharan Africa at $4.47.

Somalia, which at $0.50 offered Africa’s cheapest internet in 2020, was pushed to third position last year and comes fourth this year at a price of $0.63. Algeria ($0.51) was second last year as Sudan took the lead at $0.27.

The cost of mobile data is reducing in Africa

Compared to last year’s index, there is a general improvement in the cost of mobile data in most countries in Africa. Kenya recorded the highest improvement but Tanzania remains east Africa’s cheapest place to purchase mobile internet for the third consecutive year.

West Africa’s most affordable mobile data can be found in Ghana while Eswatini is the cheapest country to buy data in southern Africa.

The report highlights that countries with long-established 4G or new 5G infrastructure tend to enjoy cheaper internet “due to the fact that their mobile data plans tend to offer considerably more data than the global median, caps usually in the hundreds of gigabytes, or even completely unlimited.”

Africa has eight countries among the top 50 cheapest in the world but five out of the 10 most expensive countries in the world are also African. The continent is also home to the world’s slowest internet despite a drift towards 5G.

Where is internet most expensive and cheapest in the world?

“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,” says Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable in the report.