How much does mobile data cost around the world?

Britain is ranked a disappointing 136th place in a comprehensive league table detailing how much 1GB of mobile data costs in 230 countries.

The average cost of 1GB of data in the UK is £5.03, according to a study conducted by comparison website Cable, putting it in the bottom half of the list. 

By comparison, the United States came in as one of the most expensive developed nations for purchasing mobile data, at 182nd in the world, with an average 1GB cost of £9.35.

The global average, when taking data from 230 countries, came out as £6.45 per 1GB of data.

Expensive: The UK came 136th place in the list for the cheapest country to buy 1GB of data

Cable compiled the figures and converted them into US dollars. This is Money has then converted that amount into British sterling, the prices of which were correct as of March 1.

It recorded up to a maximum of 60 deals per country but this varied depending on how many were available.  



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It found that India is the cheapest country to buy mobile data with the average cost of 1GB coming in at just 20p. It also costs the same amount in Kyrgyzstan. 

Kazakhstan and Ukraine take up the third and fourth cheapest countries, all former USSR nations.

However, Russia entered the list as the 12th cheapest country, costing 69p per 1GB.

In Eastern Europe, Poland was the cheapest with 1GB of data costing £1, followed by Romania at £1.43, Slovenia at £1.67 and Moldova at £2.13. 

Greece is the most expensive in the region, with 1GB of data costing a massive £24.72 on average. Of the Baltic nations, Lithuania was found to be cheapest, costing on average £1.56. 

The cheapest data in Western Europe is in Finland, where the average price of 1GB is just 88p.

Monaco came in as the second cheapest in Western Europe at 91p, followed by  Denmark at £1.03 and Italy, in fourth place, costing £1.31.

The UK came in as the 16th cheapest in Western Europe.

MOST EXPENSIVE COUNTRIES TO BUY 1GB OF DATA Rank Name Plans measured Average price of
1GB (local currency) Currency Conversion rate (USD) Average price of 1GB (USD) Average price of 1GB (GBP) 221 Nauru 5 39.54 AUD 0.711290 $28.13 £21.15 222 Tokelau 15 43.9 NZD 0.682560 $29.96 £22.52 223 Samoa 42 79.15 WST 0.380150 $30.09 £22.62 224 Greece 15 28.93 EUR 1.130740 $32.71 £24.59 225 Bermuda 25 37.73 BMD 1.000050 $37.74 £28.37 226 Djibouti 5 6740 DJF 0.005630 $37.92 £28.51 227 Falkland Islands 4 36.67 FKP 1.292500 $47.39 £35.63 228 Saint Helena 4 42.92 SHP 1.292500 $55.47 £41.70 229 Equatorial Guinea 12 38192.92 XAF 0.001720 $65.83 £49.49 230 Zimbabwe 37 75.2 USD 1.000000 $75.20 £56.53 Source:           

Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable, said: ‘When looking at the UK compared to our European and EU counterparts, it’s disappointing to see the UK among the most expensive countries for mobile data.

‘Despite a healthy UK marketplace, our study has uncovered that EU nations such as Finland, Poland, Denmark, Italy, Austria and France pay a fraction of what we pay in the UK for similar data usage. 

‘It will be interesting to see how our position is affected post-Brexit.’

Zimbabwe, however, was discovered to be the most expensive country in which to buy mobile data. The average cost of 1GB there is £56.63 – 283 times more expensive than in India (in GBP).

There is even a hashtag trending #DataMustFall on social media in Zimbabwe and South Africa, demanding that data prices be reduced. 

Four of the five most expensive countries to buy mobile data are in sub-Saharan Africa, including Djibouti (£28.66), Saint Helena (£41.93) and Equatorial Guinea (£49.76).

However, it also has three countries among the top ten cheapest in the world including Rwanda (42p), Sudan (51p) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (67p).

Ten of the top 20 cheapest countries are in Asia with Sri Lanka, Mongolia and Myanmar all joining India in the top ten.

Just three Asian countries are more expensive than the global average of £6.45 – Taiwan (£7.17), China (£7.48) and South Korea, which was the most expensive in the region at £11.43. 

CHEAPEST COUNTRIES TO BUY 1GB OF DATA Rank Name Plans measured Average price of 1GB (local currency) Currency Conversion rate (USD) Average price of 1GB (USD) Average price of 1GB (GBP) 1 India 57 18.5 INR 0.014 26c 20p 2 Kyrgyzstan 12 18.77 KGS 0.01433 27c 20p 3 Kazakhstan 26 186.14 KZT 0.00266 49c 37p 4 Ukraine 12 13.98 UAH 0.0368 51c 39p 5 Rwanda 36 504.31 RWF 0.00111 56c 42p 6 Sudan 35 32.26 SDG 0.02095 68c 51p 7 Sri Lanka 38 140.26 LKR 0.00557 78c 59p 8 Mongolia 26 2000.43 MNT 0.00041 82c 62p 9 Myanmar 11 1334.13 MMK 0.00065 87c 66p 10 Congo (Democratic Republic of) 31 1454.49 CDF 0.00061 88c 67p Source:             

In the Western world, the average price of 1GB is more expensive than the global average in both Canada (£9.09) and the United States (£9.35).

However, the most expensive country in North America is Bermuda with an average of a massive £28.52.

Meanwhile, the cheapest deals in Central America are found in Guatemala where 1GB costs on average £3.42, which is only marginally higher than in El Salavador at £3.44 and Belize at £3.45.

In comparison, the most expensive country in Central America was found to be Mexico, which costs on average £5.58 for 1GB of mobile data.

In the Near East region, Israel ranks the cheapest, with 1GB of data costing 68p. Jordan comes second at £1.35. 

All North African countries featured in the cheapest half of the table with Egypt being the cheapest at an average of £1.13 per 1GB of mobile data.

Algeria was the most expensive in the region at £3.89 but that was still below the global average.

Most Caribbean nations are in the more expensive half of the list with the Cayman Islands found to be the most expensive in the Caribbean with an average of £20.25 while the average cost of 1GB in the Dominican Republic is 14 times cheaper at £1.42. 

Chile, with an average of £1.41 per 1GB, is the only South American country to make it into the top 50 cheapest in the world. 

The most expensive in the region is the Falkland Islands at £35.82 with the average 1GB of data costing £1.87 in Australia, making it the cheapest country in Oceania. 

The region’s island nations are mostly in the more expensive half of the table, with Samoa the most expensive at £22.74.

Dan adds: ‘Many of the cheapest countries in which to buy mobile data fall roughly into one of two categories.

‘Some have excellent mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure and so providers are able to offer large amounts of data, which brings down the price per gigabyte.

‘Others with less advanced broadband networks are heavily reliant on mobile data and the economy dictates that prices must be low, as that’s what people can afford. 

‘At the more expensive end of the list, we have countries where often the infrastructure isn’t great but also where consumption is very small.

‘People are often buying data packages of just a tens of megabytes at a time, making a gigabyte a relatively large and therefore expensive amount of data to buy.

‘Many countries in the middle of the list have good infrastructure and competitive mobile markets, and while their prices aren’t among the cheapest in the world they wouldn’t necessarily be considered expensive by its consumers.’