Highlights

Here is a quick look at some of the highlights unearthed in the study

  • India

    #1. India

    A country whose young population has a particularly high technological awareness, India offers a vibrant smartphone market, with strong adoption and many competitors. Data, therefore, is quite staggeringly cheap.

  • Kyrgyzstan

    #2. Kyrgyzstan

    With minimal, albeit growing, fixed-line connectivity across the country, Kyrgyzstan relies heavily on mobile data provision. The Kyrgyzstani mobile sector is healthy, open, and welcoming of foreign investment.

  • Kazakhstan

    #3. Kazakhstan

    Kazakhstan offers some of the most advanced network provision in its global region, with a 4G network covering its most populated areas. The market has reached saturation point, leaving its providers little room for growth and fighting for existing share.

  • Ukraine

    #4. Ukraine

    Ukraine is a near-triopoly, with three providers – Lifecell, Vodafone Ukraine and Kyivstar fighting over a saturated market. Like its broadband deals, mobile data in Ukraine is both cheap and plentiful.



Regions

  • Asia (excl. Near East)

    Asian countries make up half of the top 20 cheapest in the world. India tops the list, with the average price of one gigabit (1GB) of mobile data $0.26, while the average price of 1GB is also less than a dollar in Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

    At the other end of the table it may be surprising to see such a technologically advanced nation as South Korea ($15.12) with mobile data prices among the most expensive in the world. Large economies Japan and China are also among the most expensive in Asia.

  • Baltics

    Two of the three Baltic nations sit comfortably inside the less expensive half of the list, although for countries that enjoy some of the most advanced broadband networks in the world they aren’t represented in the top 40 when it comes to the cost of mobile data.

    Lithuania is the cheapest of the three with 1GB costing an average of $2.06 and sits in 41st place in the world, while in Estonia 1GB costs $3.67 on average. Latvia sits in the most expensive half of the list with an average of $7.12 although it’s still below the global average of $8.53.

  • Caribbean

    The vast majority of the Caribbean islands feature towards the more expensive end of the table, with the Cayman Islands ($26.79) being the priciest of the lot. In fact only three Caribbean nations make it into the less expensive half of the table, with the Dominican Republic ($1.88) by far and away the cheapest in the region, followed by Jamaica ($4.64) and Sint Maarten ($4.92).

    There is a reliance on mobile networks in order for many people to get online in the Caribbean, but data packages are often sold in small amounts, increasing the relative cost of 1GB of data.


  • Central America

    All the Central American countries are grouped somewhat close to each other in the middle of our table. Guatemala has an average price per 1GB of data of $4.53, making it marginally less expensive than its neighbours.

    In Mexico you’ll pay an average of $7.38 for 1GB of data, making the biggest country in Central America also the most expensive on average when it comes to buying mobile data. Interestingly, our Worldwide Broadband Price Comparison research last year revealed Mexico is the cheapest place in the region to buy broadband.

  • CIS (Former USSR)

    A number of CIS countries are among the very cheapest in the world for mobile data and all but one sits inside the less expensive half of the table. Kyrgyzstan is a very close second to India in the world table with an average of $0.27, just ahead of third-placed Kazakhstan ($0.49) and fourth-placed Ukraine ($0.51). The Russian Federation itself is just outside the world top 10 with the average price of 1GB $0.91.

    Turkmenistan is the only CIS nation to appear among the most expensive in the world where 1GB of data costs $19.81 on average – that’s more than four times what it costs in the second most expensive CIS country, Tajikistan ($4.84).

  • Eastern Europe

    The presence of good network infrastructure throughout Eastern Europe helps the majority of countries to appear in the less expensive half of the table although none make it into the top 20 cheapest countries. The cheapest in the region is Poland with an average price per 1GB of $1.32, followed by Romania ($1.89) and Slovenia ($2.21).

    Greece’s well-documented economic problems are evident here, with mobile data prices in the country much more expensive than in any of its neighbours. Greece’s average price per 1GB of $32.71 puts it in the top 10 most expensive places in the world to buy mobile data and makes it easily the most expensive in Europe.


  • Near East

    The Near East countries are pretty evenly spread throughout the global list, which is probably about right for a region made up of very different technological cultures. Israel is the cheapest in the region with an average price per 1GB of $0.90, making it also the 11th cheapest country in the world. Israel’s neighbour Jordan is the second cheapest in the Near East region with an average of $1.79, which puts it 32nd on the world list.

    The most expensive country in the region is Cyprus, where 1GB costs $20.25 on average. That’s more than 20 times more expensive than the average cost of mobile data in Israel and puts Cyprus 213th of 230 countries included in the research.

  • Northern Africa

    The seven Northern African countries included in the research appear higher up the table than the majority of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, although none make it into the top ten cheapest in the world.

    The cheapest country in the region is Egypt, with an average of $1.49, followed by Morocco and Western Sahara (both $1.66). Those three all make it into the world’s top 30 and even Algeria, the most expensive country in Northern Africa, still makes it into the top (cheapest) half worldwide with an average of $5.15.

  • Northern America

    It’s notable when looking at the global league table how far down it you have to read before you get to Canada and the United States. The two North American powerhouses are ranked 179 and 182 in the world in terms of the price of mobile data with 1GB costing an average $12.02 in Canada and $12.37 in the US.

    The other two countries regarded as being part of Northern America are vastly different – there’s the north Atlantic island nation of Bermuda ($37.74), which is easily the most expensive in the region (and sixth most expensive in the world), and Greenland ($16.79), which sits mostly in the Arctic circle and has only one mobile provider.


  • Oceania

    Oceania is a vast region made up largely of remote Pacific island nations, often with small populations and few mobile providers. Like the Caribbean, mobile plans often contain only small amounts of data and the majority of countries appear in the more expensive bottom end of the global list, with Samoa the most expensive in the region at $30.09.

    Australia, by far the biggest country in the region, is also the cheapest when it comes to the price of 1GB of mobile data with an average of $2.47. New Zealand, which you might expect to be similar in terms of price to Australia, is considerably more expensive at $9.79 and sits in the more expensive half of the global table.

  • South America

    There’s something of a split between the South American countries, with those in the north of the continent such as French Guinea, Guyana and Suriname generally sitting at the more expensive end of the table. Venezuela is a notable absence, while the most expensive country in the region by far is the Falkland Islands, with 1GB of data costing an average of $47.39. The Falklands is also the fourth most expensive country in the world.

    Chile, with an average of $1.87, is the cheapest country in South America and the only one to make it into the cheapest 50 countries in the world. Peru, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil are the other South American countries in the world’s top 100 cheapest.

  • Sub-Saharan Africa

    Contrary to what one might expect, ten out of the top 50 cheapest countries in the world for mobile data are in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is in stark contrast to the cost of broadband on the continent, which is almost universally very high or non-existent.

    Rwanda and Sudan feature in the top ten, with 1GB of data costing just $0.56 and $0.68. Sub-Saharan Africa also lays claim to the most expensive nation in the world for mobile date: Zimbabwe, whose average cost for 1GB of mobile data is an eye-watering $75.20, while its most expensive gigabyte is an even more shocking $138.46.


  • Western Europe

    Western Europe consists primarily of wealthy nations with highly developed mobile infrastructures. Finland leads the way with the cheapest mobile data in Western Europe, thanks to the ubiquity of unlimited data packages. Western Europe has only one country in the top ten, and is spread quite evenly throughout the table, with countries such as Switzerland, Malta and Portugal falling outside the top 200.

    The most expensive country in Western Europe is Switzerland, whose main provider Swisscom is one of the leading lights of Europe in trialling 5G technology.



Resources

Downloadable versions of the data set (.xls), the original press release and the research methodology (.pdf)

  • League table

    The full data set can be downloaded here.

  • Press release

    If you wish to see the original press release for this research, you can download it here as a PDF.

  • Methodology

    Our research methodology and notes on how to interpret the data can be downloaded here as a PDF.



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