According to a recent report released by cable.co.uk, Nigeria has emerged as the 31st-ranked country with the lowest cost of data or data price globally. The country has an average price of 1GB of data at $0.39 (N390 using an exchange rate of N1000). While this places Nigeria among the league of countries where data is affordable compared to some other nations, significant disparities exist within the country itself. The cost of 1GB of data in Nigeria ranges from as low as $0.13 to as high as $1.64, showing the diversity of pricing options available.
Per the report, sub-Saharan African countries face a greater challenge, with only six countries from the region ranking among the top 50 cheapest globally. Malawi leads the region at $0.38, while countries like Zimbabwe, Saint Helena, and South Sudan are among the most expensive in the world, painting a complex picture of digital accessibility. In contrast, Northern African countries offer relatively affordable mobile data, with Western Sahara being the cheapest at $0.58. Mauritania stands out as the most expensive in the region at $1.32. Given these statistics, Northern Africa, as a whole, ranks as the cheapest region worldwide with an average cost of 1GB: $0.86.
There are disparities in data prices across the globe.
Commenting on the report, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, said that the company’s yearly mobile data pricing tracking study is as much a measure of the quantity of data offered as it is the price of data more broadly. “After all, those countries with the most improved (cheaper) pricing across the five years our tracker now covers tend to be those offering tens or even hundreds of times more data in 2023 as was available for similar money in 2019,” he said.
In the report, there are stark disparities in mobile data prices across the globe. The report, which compared the price of 1G mobile data in 237 countries, revealed that data prices continue to fall globally despite economic turmoil. It highlights countries that have significantly improved data affordability over the years, with pricing per GB becoming 97% cheaper. Conversely, only a few countries have seen data prices rise, often due to unique circumstances like currency fluctuations or geopolitical events. Syria descent into war, for example, or large fluctuations between the local currency and the American dollar, all lead to increases in price.
How each of the countries were categorized in the report.
Countries were categorized into four archetypes to explain mobile data pricing variations. The first was excellent infrastructure. Countries with robust 4G or 5G networks tend to offer more data at lower prices due to expanded data caps or unlimited plans. Another is the user’s heavy reliance. Nations with limited fixed-line broadband options rely heavily on mobile data, fostering competition and lower prices. Then, there is the amount of consumption. In countries with basic or overburdened infrastructure, low data amounts with high per-GB costs are common.
Finally, how wealthy an economy is, is considered. Wealthier nations offer decent data caps, but prices align more closely with the global average due to increased infrastructure costs. This will be the fifth year that Cable.co.uk has cast an eye on global mobile data pricing, having previously produced internationally cited reports on global broadband speeds and global broadband pricing and global energy pricing. Their methodology includes the rules applied to the data gathering as well as how the data is calculated.
Data has become relatively cheaper over the last decade in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, over the years, the price of data in Nigeria has evolved with the way technology did in the country. About a decade ago, 10 megabytes of data retailed for as high as N100. But as of the moment, 2.5GB of data costs N500 across many service providers. While this dwarfs the amount of data as of a decade ago, it is important to note that the data consumption as of then was little compared to the amount of data that can be consumed now.