South Africa moves up in rankings for most expensive mobile data

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The fight for cheaper mobile data in South Africa continues every year and, while it may seem like a fruitless endeavour, small victories are to be had.

This is according to a study by internet comparison service which compares the price of 1GB of mobile data in 230 countries across 6 148 mobile data plans. ran the same investigation last year. In 2020 South Africa came in at 148th place, and in 2021 it has moved up to 136th. The higher the country ranking, the lower the price of the data.

Here are the end statistics for our country with the report noting that the sample data was collected relatively recently on 25th February 2021:

  • Rank: 136th out of 230 countries
  • Average price of 1GB of mobile data: $2.67 (~R38,92)
  • Cheapest 1GB of mobile data: $0.12 (~R1.75)
  • Most expensive 1GB of mobile data: $34.95 (~R509.41)
  • Data plans measured: 60

For comparison it’s important to note the results in other countries. Abroad the US and UK boast average 1GB prices of $3.33 and $1.42 respectively. Closer to home here in Africa, there’s a wide gamut of results.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, is very close to South Africa in 143rd place with an average 1GB price of $2.88. In stark comparison Sudan ranks in at 5th with an average price of just $0.27.

It should be noted, however, that both the Congo and Sudan have far fewer measured data plans at just 8 and 33 respectively. The more plans which can measured give a better representation to the actual mobile data situation in that country.

Despite outliers like Sudan our part of the world is still mired in high prices.

[Sub-Saharan Africa] also has six out of the ten most expensive countries in the world, with Equatorial Guinea the most expensive in the world (USD 49.67), joined by Saint Helena (USD 39.87), São Tomé and Príncipe (USD 30.97), Malawi (USD 25.46) and Chad (USD 23.33) at the bottom of the table,” a summary of the report reads.

The full study by can be found here. This page also contains an interactive map allowing visitors to mouse over countries to find out their results. For those interested in the hard numbers there’s the option to download the full results as a .xlsx file.

Clinton Matos

Clinton Matos

Clinton has been a programmer, engineering student, project manager, asset controller and even a farrier. Now he handles the maker side of