The cost of 1GB of mobile data in 237 countries

Measured June to September 2023

A global league table of mobile data costs. The average cost of one gigabyte (1GB) was calculated from over 5,600 mobile data plans worldwide.

Interactive map

Using the map

Countries are colour-coded by the average price of one gigabyte (1GB) of mobile data. As you can see, this paints an interesting picture, with a wide range of countries where mobile data is cheapest, but with some of the most expensive found predominantly in the remote island nations of Africa and South America.

Hovering over an individual country will bring up its associated data. This includes country name, its ranking out of the 237 countries measured, its cheapest available 1GB of data, its most expensive 1GB of data, how many plans were measured to create the average, and on what day the snapshot was taken.

Why some countries are missing data

Unlike our measurements of worldwide broadband speed and worldwide broadband pricing, where lack of fixed-line infrastructure meant significant gaps, mobile data provision is near-ubiquitous. However, there are still some countries or territories where either no provision exists, there exists only 2G infrastructure, providing only calls and/or SMS texts, or the data simply isn't available. And there are countries and regions where problems with local currency do not allow for useful comparison.

This year's excluded countries are: Bulgaria, Wallis and Futuna, Christmas Island, Eritrea, North Korea, Pitcairn Islands, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, United States Minor Outlying Islands and Vatican City (Holy See).

Related research

Cable.co.uk also undertakes annual tracking studies covering the average speed of broadband in over 200 countries, and the cost of broadband packages in over 200 countries.

Highlights

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

Israel

#1. Israel

With three-quarters of Israelis owning a smartphone, Israel boasts a higher smartphone market penetration than the United States of America. Multiple providers offer huge data allowances with extensive 4G LTE and 5G network coverage.

Italy

#2. Italy

A dozen or so popular providers in Italy collectively offer some of the cheapest data in the world. 5G is now available to around 95% of the population, alongside ubiquitous 4G.

Fiji

#3.Fiji

Despite being a remote island nation, Fiji has two mobile networks, both of which provide 4G and growing 5G coverage across the island, along with a broad range of large data deals.

San Marino

#4. San Marino

Italy's tiny neighbour was the first European state to have a 5G network, established by Italian network TIM. San Marino benefits from 100% 5G coverage.

The most and least expensive countries in the world for 1GB of mobile data

Here we take a closer look at the five most and least expensive countries in the world to buy 1GB of mobile data

Five most expensive countries in the world

The five most expensive countries in terms of the average cost of 1GB of mobile data are Zimbabwe (USD 43.75), the Falkland Islands (USD 40.58), Saint Helena (USD 40.13), South Sudan (USD 23.70) and Tokelau (USD 17.24).

The similarities between these five nations are both striking and obvious. Three of the five are located in Sub-Saharan Africa, and three of five are island nations. Sub-Saharan Africa is the fourth-most expensive region in the world for mobile data generally, while island nations also tend to be among the most expensive.

Five cheapest countries in the world

The five cheapest countries in terms of the average cost of 1GB of mobile data are Israel (USD 0.02), Italy (USD 0.09), Fiji (USD 0.09), San Marino (USD 0.10), and Cambodia (USD 0.12).

Conversely to the most expensive, only one of these countries is an island, and none of them are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. Italy offers the cheapest mobile data in Western Europe and also maintains the infrastructure in San Marino. Israel has been a global leader in the provision of 5G and continues to top the global table when it comes to the price of data as well.

Countries can be categorised using a mixture of these four archetypes

Researchers uncovered four main country archetypes that go the greatest distance to explaining the expense, or lack of, mobile data across the globe. Note that many countries will be formed of a mixture of two or more of these.

Excellent infrastructure: Countries with long-established, ubiquitous 4G or new 5G infrastructure tend to fall towards the cheaper end of the table. This is 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. The cost per gigabyte in these countries will tend therefore to be very low.

Heavy reliance: Countries with little to no fixed-line broadband availability therefore rely heavily on mobile data provision. In these cases, mobile data is the primary means the population has of getting online, and adoption is often near-ubiquitous. With a saturated market and many competing providers, often accompanied by a low average wage, data pricing in such countries can be exceptionally cheap when compared globally.

Small consumption: Countries where, although mobile data is widely available and widely used, the basic and/or overburdened infrastructure dictates a limited-use culture. In countries such as these, SIMs tend to be relatively cheap but predominantly available loaded with very small data amounts. In such countries, amounts of 2-5MB and with single-day expiries are not uncommon. When multiplying such small quantities to figure out the cost of a gigabyte, then, such countries tended to find themselves at the most expensive end of the table.

Wealthy economy: Wealthy nations tend to have good mobile infrastructure, decently-sized data caps and relatively healthy markets. Since populations can afford to pay more, and network infrastructure costs that much more to own and run, and provided they haven't reached the 'excellent infrastructure' category where data limits are beyond normal usage or entirely unlimited, data pricing tends towards the global average.

The most improved vs least improved pricing

Here we take a quick look at which countries have done the best and worst at making mobile data cheaper since 2019, when this tracking study began.

Minus figures are better. For example, -99.17% means prices per 1GB have dropped by 99.17% since 2019. Plus figures are worse and represent increases in the cost of 1GB.

Five most improved countries

When it comes to the most improved between 2019 and 2023, those countries which have offered many multiples the amount of data they once did, but for similar money, have fared the best, with all five of the most improved splitting hairs with 97%+ cheaper pricing per GB.

Five least improved countries

Conversely, only a handful of countries have actually seen data prices rising across the last five sample years, each with a unique reason for such a rise to occur. Syria's descent into war, for example, or large fluctuations between the local currency and the American dollar.

Regions

Here we take a closer look at how pricing is averaged in thirteen global regions, and talk a little about the current state of each with regard to mobile data and pricing.

Northern Africa

All but two of the seven North African countries are in the cheapest half of the table. Western Sahara is the cheapest at USD 0.58, and the most expensive in the region is Mauritania (USD 1.32). All countries in this region are cheaper than the global average of USD 2.59. Northern Africa is the cheapest region in the world overall.

  • Position: 1st
  • Total countries tested: 7
  • Average cost of 1GB: USD 0.86
  • Total tariffs measured: 206

Asia (excl. Near East)

Asian nations make up a significant portion of the top 20 cheapest countries for mobile data. Cambodia and Pakistan offer the most affordable rates at just USD 0.12 per 1GB, followed by India at USD 0.16 and India at USD 0.16. These countries rank among the top ten globally for the lowest mobile data prices. Only three Asian countries exceed the global average of USD 2.59 per 1GB – Japan (USD 3.48), British Indian Ocean Territory (USD 4.44), and South Korea, which stands as the most expensive in the region at USD 5.01 per 1GB.

  • Position: 2nd
  • Total countries tested: 28
  • Average cost of 1GB: USD 1.10
  • Total packages measured: 948

Eastern Europe

Within Eastern Europe, Moldova (USD 0.28) is the cheapest, followed by Montenegro (USD 0.32), Poland (USD 0.37), and Romania (USD 0.54). The Czech Republic is the most expensive in the region, with 1GB of data costing USD 3.12 on average.

  • Position: 3rd
  • Total countries tested: 15
  • Average cost of 1GB: USD 1.27
  • Total tariffs measured: 267

Central America

The cheapest mobile data plans in Central America can be found in Nicaragua, where 1GB of data costs USD 0.55 on average, and Honduras (USD 0.78). Prices are somewhat steeper in El Salvador (USD 1.08) and Guatemala (USD 1.17). The most expensive country in Central America is Belize, where an average 1GB costs USD 2.92.

  • Position: 4th
  • Total countries tested: 8
  • Average cost of 1GB: USD 1.50
  • Total tariffs measured: 229

CIS

A number of CIS countries are among the very cheapest in the world for mobile data and all but four sit inside the less expensive half of the table. Kyrgyzstan is cheapest in the region with an average of USD 0.17, and also eighth-cheapest in the world. At the bottom of the regional table is Turkmenistan (USD 11.42), which is also the seventh most expensive in the world.

  • Position: 5th
  • Total countries tested: 11
  • Average cost of 1GB: USD 1.80
  • Total tariffs measured: 186

Baltics

Estonia is the cheapest of the three with 1GB costing an average of USD 1.15 and sits in 107th place in the world, while in Lithuania 1GB costs USD 1.26 on average. Latvia sits in the most expensive half of the table with an average of USD 3.21, and is the only country in the regioj whose pricing is greater than the global average of USD 2.59.

  • Position: 6th
  • Total countries tested: 4
  • Average cost of 1GB: USD 1.87
  • Total tariffs measured: 54

Western Europe

The cheapest mobile data in Western Europe is in Italy – in second place globally – where the average price of 1GB is just USD 0.09. San Marino (USD 0.10) is the second-cheapest in Western Europe, followed by France (USD 0.20) and Monaco (USD 0.42). The UK (USD 0.62) is the 8th cheapest in Western Europe, and 58th cheapest in the world.

  • Position: 7th
  • Total countries tested: 29
  • Average cost of 1GB: USD 2.08
  • Total tariffs measured: 613

Caribbean

Most Caribbean nations are in the more expensive half of the list but the difference between the most expensive and the cheapest is extreme. The Cayman Islands are the most expensive in the Caribbean with an average of USD 8.39, while an average 1GB in the cheapest country – Haiti – is 38 times cheaper at USD 0.22.

  • Position: 8th
  • Total countries tested: 29
  • Average cost of 1GB: USD 2.15
  • Total tariffs measured: 474

Near East

Israel is the cheapest country in the Near East region and also the cheapest in the world, with 1GB costing an average of USD 0.02. Turkey (USD 0.44) is a distant second-cheapest, closely followed by Kuwait (USD 0.52) and Syria (USD 0.67). The most expensive mobile data in the region can be found in Yemen, where the average price of 1GB is USD 15.68.

  • Position: 9th
  • Total countries tested: 15
  • Average cost of 1GB: USD 2.42
  • Total tariffs measured: 376

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa has just six countries among the top 50 cheapest in the world – Malawi, in 29th place globally, is cheapest in the region at USD 0.38. The region also has five out of the ten most expensive countries in the world, with Zimbabwe being the most expensive in the region and in the world (USD 43.75), followed by Saint Helena (USD 40.13), South Sudan (23.70), the Central African Republic (USD 10.90) and Zambia (USD 8.01) all at the bottom of the table.

  • Position: 10th
  • Total countries tested: 50
  • Average cost of 1GB: USD 3.31
  • Total tariffs measured: 1,396

Oceania

The average 1GB of data costs USD 0.09 in Fiji, making it the cheapest country in Oceania, and the 3rd cheapest in the world. The region's island nations are mostly in the more expensive half of the table, with Tokelau being the most expensive at USD 17.24. Samoa comes in at second cheapest in the region at USD 0.36, with New Zealand a long way behind – 18th in the region with an average 1GB cost of USD 5.89.

  • Position: 11th
  • Total countries tested: 24
  • Average cost of 1GB: USD 3.72
  • Total tariffs measured: 410

South America

Colombia, with an average of USD 0.20, Uruguay (USD 0.28), Brazil (USD 0.51), Peru (USD 0.45) and French Guiana (USD 0.49) are the only South American countries to make it into the top 50 cheapest in the world. The most expensive in the region is the Falkland Islands at USD 40.58 – it is also the second most expensive in the world.

  • Position: 12th
  • Total countries tested: 14
  • Average cost of 1GB: USD 3.74
  • Total tariffs measured: 398

Northern America

The average price of 1GB of mobile data in all four North American countries exceeds the global average of USD 2.59, making it the most expensive region overall. Bermuda is the cheapest country in the region with an average cost of USD 3.42, and the most expensive is the United States (USD 6.00).

  • Position: 13th
  • Total countries tested: 4
  • Average cost of 1GB: USD 4.59
  • Total tariffs measured: 101

Historical averages

Tracking mobile data pricing in over 200 countries and territories across multiple 12-month periods has allowed us to generate an overall average price of 1GB of data for the globe, and to see how this number changes over time. The good news is that the global cost of data continues to fall rapidly.

Year Average global cost of 1GB of mobile data in USD % Change
2019 8.18 -
2020 5.09 -37.58%
2021 4.07 -20.00%
2022 3.12 -23.32%
2023 2.61 -16.35%

Our comments

Our yearly mobile data pricing tracking study is as much a measure of the quantity of data offered as it is the price of data more broadly. After all, those countries with the most improved (cheaper) pricing across the five years our tracker now covers tend to be those offering tens or even hundreds of times more data in 2023 as was available for similar money in 2019.

It's encouraging to see the price of data coming down across the globe as whole, with the vast majority of countries offering 1GB of mobile data for less than USD 2.00. It's a very different picture to the one we saw in 2019.

Resources

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

file-xlsx

League table

The full data set can be downloaded here.

file-pdf

Press release

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

file-pdf

Methodology

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

Average cost per 1GB of mobile data by country

Rank Country Average price of 1GB (USD)
1Israel0.02
2Italy0.09
3Fiji0.09
4San Marino0.10
5Cambodia0.12
6Pakistan0.12
7India0.16
8Kyrgyzstan0.17
9France0.20
10Colombia0.20
11Haiti0.22
12Bangladesh0.23
13Sri Lanka0.25
14Lao People's Democratic Republic0.25
15Russian Federation0.25
16Ukraine0.27
17Indonesia0.28
18Uruguay0.28
19Moldova0.28
20Malaysia0.28
21Vietnam0.29
22Uzbekistan0.30
23Trinidad and Tobago0.32
24Montenegro0.32
25Martinique0.33
26Samoa0.36
27Poland0.37
28China0.38
29Malawi0.38
30Mongolia0.38
31Nigeria0.39
32Brazil0.40
33Ghana0.40
34Thailand0.41
35Kazakhstan0.41
36Monaco0.42
37Nepal0.43
38Turkey0.44
39Australia0.44
40Peru0.45
41Réunion0.48
42Spain0.48
43Guadeloupe0.49
44French Guiana0.49
45Somalia0.50
46Austria0.51
47Kuwait0.52
48Finland0.52
49Congo (Democratic Republic of)0.52
50Romania0.54
51Nicaragua0.55
52Rwanda0.55
53Western Sahara0.58
54Serbia0.58
55Philippines0.59
56Turks and Caicos Islands0.59
57Kenya0.59
58United Kingdom0.62
59Singapore0.63
60Morocco0.63
61Chile0.64
62Egypt0.65
63Syria0.67
64Mauritius0.67
65Sierra Leone0.67
66Belarus0.67
67Gibraltar0.67
68Congo0.68
69Ethiopia0.68
70Denmark0.69
71Taiwan0.69
72Jamaica0.70
73Bhutan0.71
74Mayotte0.71
75Algeria0.73
76French Polynesia0.75
77Jordan0.76
78Mozambique0.78
79Honduras0.78
80Dominican Republic0.79
81Saint Barthélemy (St. Barts)0.80
82Hong Kong0.82
83Libya0.82
84Tanzania0.84
85Slovenia0.84
86Macedonia0.86
87Suriname0.95
88Armenia0.98
89Myanmar0.99
90Ecuador1.00
91Angola1.01
92Afghanistan1.02
93Bosnia and Herzegovina1.03
94Paraguay1.04
95Venezuela1.05
96Saint Vincent and the Grenadines1.05
97Iraq1.07
98St. Pierre and Miquelon1.07
99El Salvador1.08
100Iceland1.08
101Palestine, State of1.08
102Burundi1.10
103Uganda1.11
104Argentina1.11
105Dominica1.11
106Madagascar1.12
107Estonia1.15
108Sudan1.16
109Guatemala1.17
110Côte d'Ivoire1.18
111Croatia1.19
112Liechtenstein1.19
113Tonga1.19
114Namibia1.20
115Kosovo1.25
116Eswatini1.26
117Lithuania1.26
118Djibouti1.26
119Tunisia1.28
120Jersey1.31
121Bahrain1.31
122Mauritania1.32
123Papua New Guinea1.36
124Macau1.44
125Isle of Man1.44
126Togo1.45
127Saudi Arabia1.49
128Ireland1.50
129Iran1.50
130American Samoa1.50
131Guinea1.51
132Saint Kitts and Nevis1.54
133Vanuatu1.54
134Albania1.55
135Saint Lucia1.58
136Saint-Martin (France)1.58
137Equatorial Guinea1.59
138The Netherlands1.61
139Panama1.63
140Cameroon1.63
141Senegal1.63
142Niger1.63
143Tajikistan1.65
144Guernsey1.69
145Luxembourg1.70
146Hungary1.71
147Azerbaijan1.76
148Portugal1.79
149South Africa1.81
150Grenada1.81
151Aruba1.85
152Costa Rica1.86
153Bolivia1.87
154Anguilla1.88
155Brunei Darussalam1.89
156Georgia1.91
157Lebanon1.91
158Timor-Leste1.92
159Oman1.95
160Lesotho1.96
161Botswana1.99
162Mexico2.03
163Germany2.14
164Maldives2.16
165Comoros2.18
166Belgium2.23
167Faroe Islands2.24
168Palau2.25
169Montserrat2.26
170Sweden2.33
171Malta2.36
172Guyana2.36
173Benin2.37
174Qatar2.40
175São Tomé and Príncipe2.41
176Cyprus2.41
177Liberia2.50
178Guam2.50
179Puerto Rico2.58
180Cook Islands2.62
181Northern Mariana Islands2.67
182Slovakia2.68
183Curaçao2.68
184Caribbean Netherlands2.71
185Cuba2.71
186Guinea-Bissau2.72
187Barbados2.75
188Sint Maarten2.77
189Greece2.79
190Belize2.92
191Cocos (Keeling) Islands3.03
192Nauru3.09
193Czech Republic3.12
194Niue3.14
195Kiribati3.19
196Antigua and Barbuda3.20
197Latvia3.21
198Cape Verde3.24
199Burkina Faso3.27
200Bermuda3.42
201Japan3.48
202Gambia3.56
203Greenland3.58
204New Caledonia3.76
205Norway4.07
206Gabon4.09
207Chad4.09
208Virgin Islands (U.S.)4.33
209British Indian Ocean Territory4.44
210Mali4.56
211United Arab Emirates4.61
212Andorra4.82
213Bahamas4.99
214South Korea5.01
215Virgin Islands (British)5.24
216Canada5.37
217Seychelles5.43
218New Zealand5.89
219United States6.00
220Marshall Islands6.08
221Tuvalu6.08
222Åland Islands6.12
223Norfolk Island6.39
224Solomon Islands6.96
225Micronesia (Federated States of)7.11
226Switzerland7.29
227Zambia8.01
228Cayman Islands8.39
229Svalbard and Jan Mayen9.00
230Central African Republic10.90
231Turkmenistan11.42
232Yemen15.68
233Tokelau17.24
234South Sudan23.70
235Saint Helena40.13
236Falkland Islands40.58
237Zimbabwe43.75

*Note: Where values are identical, ranking is decided by next decimal place, not shown here. To see these results to greater than two decimal places, please download the raw data set.

Contact us

Dan Howdle

Dan Howdle

Consumer telecoms analyst

Email: dan@cable.co.uk

1