With the increase in connectivity via smartphones, people in emerging markets can use their portable devices for more things each passing day. Most of us have a smartphone with mobile data that we can carry anywhere and as soon as we step home we switch to our Wi-Fi not to overuse our mobile data; which is most of the time unfairly overcharged.
However some people do not have the privilege to afford both mobile data and internet at home, so they opt for the more expensive but more portable mobile data. Everyday, people in emerging African countries are forced to take this decision and are sometimes charged the most expensive prices in the world for mobile data. What is important to know also is the dependency and impact of smartphones in lower income communities.
With a difficulty in banking and a lack of physical money, many people in Western and Central Africa utilize mobile payment services either through the internet or directly in their mobile carriers.
In a survey done by the Cable.co.uk, a UK-based price comparison website, mobile data hugely varies across different countries. The report analyzed the cost of 1GB of mobile data in 230 countries. India was ranked as the country with the cheapest data worldwide with the cost of 1GB costing an average of $0.26 USD. Out of the 230 countries, Africa had three countries topping with the most expensive mobile data.
Top 10 African Countries with the most expensive mobile data:
- Zimbabwe – $75.20
- Equatorial Guinea – $65.83
- Saint Helena – $55.47
- Djibouti – $37.92
- Chad – $23.33
- Benin – $20.99
- Seychelles – $19. 55
- Mozambique – $15.82
- Botswana – $14.12
- Comoros – $12.57
With all this in mind, Africa is not only limited to the most expensive mobile data in the world. The continent has also 10 of the countries out of 50 in the list of least expensive mobile data. Out of this list there are some surprising entries. Rwanda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo have the cheapest mobile data in Africa; $0.58, $0.68 and $0.88 respectively.
Considering that the DRC and Sudan are considered as being two of the poorest countries in the world, it comes as no surprise that mobile data in these countries would be as cheap as a number of the population can afford. In Northern Africa, Egypt has the cheapest average cost of mobile data at $1.49, followed by Morocco and Western Sahara, both at $1.66 for 1GB of data. In Africa’s largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, the average cost of data is still relatively expensive at $2.22 and $7.19 respectively.