A gigabyte of mobile data costs up to $35 in Africa, survey shows
By Victor Magunamu, Nairobi, Kenya
Internet users in Africa spend an average of 8.7 per cent of their monthly income on mobile data bundles, way above United Nation’s target of less than two per cent.
The latest report by Alliance for Affordable Internet (AAI) shows that only four countries in Africa led by Egypt spend less than two per cent of their Gross Domestic Income on prepaid mobile internet.
The survey, which sampled 60 countries from low and middle income countries globally, ranks Tunisia as having the most affordable mobile internet in the continent, costing consumers only 0.33 per cent of their daily income.
Mobile internet users in Mauritius spend 1.01 per cent while those in Tunisia and Nigeria spend 1.37 per cent 1.57 per cent respectively.
In contrast, internet users in Zimbabwe spend 32.97 per cent of their daily income to purchase 1 gigabyte of mobile data while their counterparts in Malawi and Gambia spend 21.04 and 20.8 per cent respectively.
This means that a single gigabyte of data costs more than $20 in those countries.
A quick online search shows that South Africa, a developed economy in the continent, charges up to R160 almost $10 for 1GB of mobile internet. In Equatorial Guinea, a gigabyte of mobile data costs up to $35.
In Kenya, the cost of mobile internet has shrunk by more than a half since 2015 when users spent 9.72 per cent of their monthly income to 4.01 per cent. This is attributed to stiff competition amongst mobile internet providers.
Last week Friday, Safaricom Plc, the largest mobile network in the country was forced to cut data prices for low consumers, charging Sh20 for 50 megabytes plus 50 short message services (SMS).
This, after the firm’s chief executive officer Bob Collymore promised to slash charges and better services during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held late last month.
The firm is now offering 1GB of weekly data at Sh250 and Sh1000 for 5GB monthly mobile internet data.
Even so, its competitors are way cheaper. Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya for instance are charging Sh99 almost a dollar for 2GB daily data. Telkom even has a package of 12GB weekly data at Sh990.