There are around 3.8 billion smartphone users worldwide. This equates to almost 50 percent of the world’s population. And all of them want cheap and fast data.
In which countries of the world offer the most economical data plans? And where are people paying more for their data? Top Dollar researchers decided to investigate. Using data collected from the World Bank and other credible sources, they created a series of infographics on mobile data charges around the world.
Where data is cheap
Israel has the cheapest data in the world, according to Top Dollar researchers. Based on a standard 10GB monthly plan, mobile users in Israel pay just $ 0.01 per 1Mbps download speed. The low prices are mainly due to a very competitive mobile data market, which includes a large customer base for the providers. Over 95% of Israelis have instant access to the Internet.
China ranks second, with 10GB of data per 1Mbps download speed costing $ 0.003. Again, China’s ability to lower the cost of data comes from its vast network of digital infrastructure. And more innovation is on the way. Earlier this year, Chinese authorities opened the Future Internet Test Infrastructure (FITI) center – the world’s largest internet and data testing facility. Analysts believe this will lead to a wave of revolutions in the digital space, including faster (and even cheaper) data for Chinese citizens.
Other countries where fast data costs less than $ 0.10 are Italy, Australia, France, Denmark, Moldova, and Kuwait. And despite Fiji’s remote location in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, its telecom companies still deliver fast and inexpensive data to all islanders. Fijians pay $ 0.07 for 10GB of data per 1Mbps download speed, although you may struggle to pick up a few bars if you go hiking in the mountainous areas of the island.
Where people pay the most for their data
Data is expensive in Namibia. Based on Top Dollar metrics, Namibians pay $ 11.36 per 1 Mbps download speed. This makes Namibia the most expensive place in the world for data. The high costs are a direct result of Namibia’s underdeveloped infrastructure. Namibians living in rural areas are stranded using 2G devices and technologies. Those in towns and cities have it a bit better, but their overpriced 3G networks still run at a snail’s pace.
Namibia is not the only developing country where mobile data is expensive and slow. In fact, there is a direct correlation between a lack of infrastructure and high data prices. Cuba, Tajikistan, Colombia and Ivory Coast are four other developing countries that make up the list of the most expensive places in the world for mobile data. With prices ranging from $ 1.43 to $ 2.82 per 1 Mbps download speed, citizens of these countries pay up to 300% more for data than people living in developed countries.
Other countries on the list are struggling to build robust digital infrastructure networks due to years of war and conflict. Thus, the people of war-torn Syria and Afghanistan are still denied access to cheap and reliable data. Syrians pay $ 3.20 per 1 Mbps download speed; Afghans are forced to pay $ 1.24.
The inclusion of the Czech Republic may come as a surprise to some. After all, this Eastern European country is a middle-income economy with above-average digital infrastructure and network coverage. But the country’s mobile industry is dominated by a small group of vendors who operate like a cartel. And this lack of free and fair competition keeps prices high ($ 1.40). Moreover, the Czechs should not expect much help from their political leaders to create a fairer telecommunications industry. Asked about the high mobile tariffs, Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Lubomir Bokstefl said all customers looking for cheaper deals should head to Poland.
The real value of affordable data
Affordable data and reliable mobile networks are perfect for watching cat videos or watching your favorite Netflix series to block out the horror of a Monday morning commute. But for those in developing countries, fair-priced data means much more. It’s a chance to learn, participate in local and international markets, and control rogue governments and organizations. In other words, access to cheap data means freedom and opportunity. And, unfortunately, there is still a long way to go to address existing price inequalities around the world.