In a study by Cable.co.uk conducted between July 5 and September 6, this year, 5,603 mobile data plans in 237 countries were gathered and analysed to compare the cost of mobile data. Kenya emerged number 58 with cost of data averaging Sh87 for one gigabyte (1GB), with Zimbabwe emerging the most expensive place to buy mobile data this year with 1GB averaging $43.75.
With an average cost of just $0.02 (Sh3) per gigabyte (GB), Israel ranks as the country with the cheapest mobile internet. The country has a highly developed technology sector making it one of the most connected countries in the world with over 80 per cent of its population using the internet. The Israeli government has been investing heavily in developing its digital infrastructure and has been promoting the use of digital services. Israel has also been ranked as one of the top countries in terms of internet speed.
Taking second place, Italy offers mobile internet at a low cost of $0.09 (Sh13) per GB. The country has excellent internet infrastructure, with 5G availability to approximately 95 per cent of its residents. In July 2022, internet users from computers or mobile reached 43.6 million unique users, equal to 73.9 per cent of Italians aged two years and above, where 91 per cent of the population surfed from mobile.
This is the third country in the world with a lower cost of mobile internet at $0.09 (Sh13) per GB. Despite these challenges with infrastructure, the Fijian government has recognised the importance of affordable and accessible internet for the country’s economic development and has been taking steps to address these issues. In recent years, Fiji has made significant investments in its telecommunications infrastructure, including the construction of the Southern Cross Cable Network, which connects Fiji to the global internet via high-speed fiber-optic cables. Consequently, this has resulted in improvement in reliability as well as speed in internet connection.
4. San Marino
This landlocked country in Western Europe ranks fourth with a lower internet cost of US$0.10 (Sh14) per GB. The Republic of San Marino has a well-developed telecommunications infrastructure, with the majority of its population having access to the internet.
Data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) indicates that internet penetration rate in the country stood at 89.8 percept in 2020, which is higher than the global average of 84.9 per cent. This high penetration rate can be attributed to the availability of affordable and reliable internet services provided by various service providers in the country.
At $0.12 (Sh17) per GB, Cambodia ranks the seventh country with the cheapest mobile internet. In recent years, the country has experienced rapid growth in internet access, which has consequently changed the way it’s citizens access information, communicate as well as conduct business. There are a lot of factors that have resulted to this including the expansion of mobile networks, the increase in affordability of smartphones, and the efforts that the government is making in improving the country’s digital infrastructure.
In 2015, the government launched the Cambodia ICT Masterplan 2020, which outlined a vision for the country to become an “e-society” by 2020. This plan included a range of initiatives aimed at increasing internet access, such as the construction of a national broadband network and the establishment of a national internet exchange point.
At the cost of $0.12 (Sh17) per GB, Pakistan ranks sixth in the world. Since the early 90s, Pakistanis have enjoyed the internet and there are currently 124 million internet users, making it the seventh largest population of internet users globally. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is one of the fastest growing industries in the country.
However, despite the growth, lack of infrastructure has greatly affected the internet speed, encompassing technology, available backhaul, and international internet bandwidth. This is the primary reason Pakistan’s internet speed lags behind that of neighbouring countries and even some less developed nations in the world.
India is among the countries with the cheapest internet at $0.16 (Sh23) per GB. The country has the second highest number of internet users in the world with 865 million users. One of the major challenges facing the internet segment in India is the lower average bandwidth of broadband connections compared to that of other developed countries. To compete with international standards of defining broadband speed, the Indian government has taken the aggressive step to ensure broadband network to connect all cities, towns and villages.
Another challenge that they face is digital divide where the growth is biased in favour of urban areas. However, regulators have tried to boost the growth of broadband in rural areas by promoting higher investment in rural infrastructure and establishing subsidised tariffs for rural subscribers under the Universal Service Obligation scheme put in place by the government.
Kyrgyzstan ranks eighth with 1GB of mobile data costing $0.17 (Sh25). In recent years, this landlocked country in Central Asia has witnessed a significant increase in internet penetration, with more and more people getting access to the World Wide Web.
By 2021, internet penetration in the country stood at 34.5 per cent, which is a considerable improvement compared to the eight per cent that was recorded in 2010. This growth can be attributed to the government’s efforts to develop the country’s digital infrastructure and the increased availability of affordable internet services.
At the rate of $0.20 (Sh29), one can access 1GB data in France, making it the ninth cheapest countries in the world with affordable data.
There were 60.92 million internet users in France in January 2022. The countrie’s internet penetration rate stood at 93 per cent of the total population at the start of 2022. Kepios analysis indicates that internet users in France increased by 1.5 million between 2021 and 2022.
Colombia makes it the 10th country with the cheapest internet, with a GB costing $0.20 (Sh29). Colombia, a country in South America with insular regions in North America, is rapidly advancing in terms of technology and internet connectivity.
With the introduction of satellite internet, Colombians now have access to a reliable and fast internet connection that can help them stay connected to the world. In January 2023, Colombia had 39.34 million internet users, with an internet penetration rate of 75.7 per cent of the total population. Kepios analysis indicates that internet users in Colombia increased by 1.5 million between 2022 and 2023.