Sudan, with a total population of about 45 million, offers the cheapest data plans in Africa. The Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2021 by Cable.co.uk ranks Sudan above 53 other African countries listed in the report on data costs worldwide.
The study features over 230 countries across 12 regions, estimating the average cost of one gigabyte (1GB) compared from over 6,000 mobile data plans.
Africa’s Cheapest Data
Sudan leads Africa in terms of mobile data affordability with 1gb of data costing an average of $0.27. Due to a dearth of fixed broadband infrastructure, Sudan relies heavily on mobile data as the primary means of internet connectivity.
For context, of Sudan’s 13.12 million internet subscriptions, only 31,218 were fixed broadband subscriptions in 2019, according to the World Bank. Data is therefore priced cheaper to increase internet penetration and access.
Ranked 5th, Sudan is the only African country among the top 10 with the cheapest mobile data, trailing Italy, Fiji, Kyrgyzstan and Israel. All other African countries including Nigeria and Ghana fall outside the top 10.
With the average price of 1GB data at $0.88, Nigeria ranks 43rd on the list, behind Sudan (5), Algeria (16), Somalia (22), Ghana (27), Libya (30), Tanzania (32) and Mauritius (33).
Data Costs are Much Higher in Kenya and South Africa
Kenya and South Africa occupy the 118th and 136th positions with average data costs of $2.25 and $2.67 respectively. These countries fall in the rather expensive category due to the abundance of mobile broadband infrastructure which the majority of internet users can afford to pay for.
Kenya’s $193.54 and South Africa’s $205.9 are two of the highest minimum wages in Africa, proving that residents have relatively greater purchasing power compared to several other countries on the continent.
South Africa has achieved 3G and 4G penetration levels of 99.7% and 92.8% respectively, while Kenya’s Safaricom 3G and 4G networks cover 94% and 77% of the population.
Suffice it to say that Kenya and South Africa are currently the only two African countries to have launched live 5G networks.
North Africa ($1.53) has the cheapest data plans in the world, but Sub-Saharan Africa ($6.44) remains the region with the most expensive data worldwide.
6 of 7 North African countries including Egypt feature in the top 100, and 4 are listed in the top 50.
On the other hand, 6 out of the 10 countries with the most expensive data come from Sub-Saharan Africa, with Equatorial Guinea the most expensive in the world ($49.67), followed by Saint Helena ($39.87), São Tomé and Príncipe ($30.97), Malawi ($25.46) and Chad ($23.33)
In North Africa, Algeria offers the cheapest data at $0.51 but Mauritania’s $5.56 average makes it the only country in the region to exceed the global average of $4.07.
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