Are Internet data plans affordable?


By Conrad Onyango – Bird Newsroom.

Sudan leads nine other African countries that charge their citizens less than a dollar for a gigabyte (1 GB) of mobile data, according to a report by the British technology research firm Cable.

The northeastern nation of Africa offers the lowest cost of internet access on a smartphone anywhere on the continent and ranks among the the five cheapest countries in the world for mobile data based on 2021 global mobile data pricing.

The cost of mobile internet in Sudan is $ 0.27 for each gigabyte of data. The result is that internet access has become ubiquitous in many densely populated areas of the huge country.

Citizens in Sudan “Rely heavily on mobile data as the main means of keeping its population connected to the rest of the world”, said the report.

Algeria is the second cheapest at $ 0.51, while Somalia is the third cheapest on the continent at $ 0.60. Cable consumer telecommunications analyst Dan Howdle said countries with the cheapest mobile data rates have excellent mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure, making them easier for service providers in these markets be able to offer large amounts of data, which lowers the price of the gigabyte.

“Others with less advanced broadband networks rely heavily on mobile data and the economy dictates that prices have to be low because that’s what people can afford,” Howdle said in the report.

Sudan, with a population of over 45 million and at least 13 million internet subscribers are tied with Italy ($ 0.27), but behind Israel ($ 0.05), Kyrgyzstan ($ 0.15) and Fiji ($ 0.19), in the world ranking.

Other African countries that charge mobile internet subscribers less than a dollar to browse the web and run mobile apps are Ghana (US $ 0.66), Libya ($ 0.74), Tanzania ($ 0.75), Mauritius ($ 0.75), Nigeria ($ 0.88), Cameroon ($ 0.90)) and Senegal ($ 0.94).

The report, which presented more than 230 countries in 12 regions and compared the cost of 1 GB of over 6,000 mobile data plans, also pointed out that North Africa (at an average of $ 1.53) has the cheapest data plans in the world .

Algeria (16), Libya (30) and Morocco (45) are in the world top 50 while Egypt (55), Tunisia (59) and Mauritania are in the world top 100. However, Egypt ($ 1.04), Tunisia ($ 1.09) and Mauritania ($ 5.56) charge more than a dollar for 1 GB of data.

Kenya and South Africa, with advanced mobile infrastructure and high Internet traffic, fall far behind the top 100 list, with charges of $ 2.25 and $ 2.67 per gigabyte of data respectively.

The cost of data in these two countries, however, is cheaper than the global average of $ 4.07. According to the report, South Africa and Kenya are seen as competitive mobile markets, with prices in these “rich countries” not necessarily seen as high by customers.

“Many countries in the middle of the list have good infrastructure and competitive mobile markets, and although their prices are not among the cheapest in the world, they would not necessarily be considered expensive by its consumers, ”says the report.

South Africa and Kenya have deployed 5G commercial networks in their markets. This very high speed internet, although still in its infancy, is expected to have the potential to generate unprecedented and inclusive growth in mobile data across the continent.

bird story agency.

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