The cost of data in Kenya has steadily reduced as mobile operators try to make their offers more competitive. Telkom Kenya, JTL, and Airtel Kenya come up as the cheap alternatives as it stands, while Safaricom plays its own game but still manages to stand out, in part due to its wider coverage.
But how does the average price of one gigabyte (1GB) of mobile data in Kenya compare with the rest of the world? Cable.co.uk’s latest Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2021 report has all the details. It compares the average cost of 1GB of mobile data across over 200 countries.
Kenya ranks as number 118 out of the 230 countries that were included in the latest survey. The average cost of 1GB of mobile data stood at KES 247.07 (~$2.25).
The cheapest plan in the country, according to the report, costs ~KES 29 and the most expensive ~KES 1098(~10.93) from the 50 plans measured between 8 December 2020 and 25 February 2021.
While Kenyans often complain about the cost of mobile data in the country, the average is less than the global average of $4.07(~KES 447).
Cost of mobile data in Africa
Taking a wider look into the whole continent, just seven countries in North Africa are in the cheapest half of the table. In Sub-Saharan Africa, a substantial number of countries have some of the most expensive plans.
The region has six out of the ten most expensive countries in the world. Equatorial Guinea, the most expensive globally, has an average cost of 1GB at $49.67(~KES 5454).
However, there’s an outlier, Sudan, among the top ten cheapest in the world, at number five, with 1GB of data going at an average of $0.27(~KES 30).
The cheapest and most expensive of all
The report notes that Israel has the world’s cheapest data plans with 1GB going for $0.05, followed by Kyrgyzstan ($0.15), Fiji ($0.19), Italy ($0.27), and Sudan ($0.27).
The five most expensive countries are Equatorial Guinea ($49.67), Falkland Islands ($44.56), Saint Helena ($39.87), São Tomé, and Príncipe ($30.97), and Malawi ($25.46). Notably, the report paints an interesting picture. A lot of the countries with cheap plans are located around the former USSR. The most expensive in North America, Africa, and Western Europe.
Dan Howdle, the consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, says the many countries with the cheapest mobile data fall into two categories.
Some have excellent mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure, enabling providers to offer data in large amounts, thus driving prices down.
Others have cheap data plans due to the economy and heavy reliance on mobile data occasioned by less advanced broadband networks, thus the need to make data more affordable.