Overcharged: African’s Pay Highest Internet Prices In The World
By CultureBanx Team
1GB gigabyte of mobile internet data can set African’s back as much as $35
Only 24% of Africa’s 1.2 billion people are online
Accessing the internet in Africa is now the most expensive continent in the world to do so. Purchasing a gigabyte of mobile internet data can set African’s back as much as $35. While smartphone penetration has spiked over the past decade in Africa, progress in reducing the cost of getting online has not moved at the same pace.
Why This Matters: Adding more internet providers to increase competition should be able to drive down prices. In its 2019 affordability report, the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) defines affordability of mobile broadband data, as a proportion of monthly income for 1GB or service. This data shouldn’t cost more than 2% of average monthly income. Across the continent of Africa the average is more than 7%, and in some cases 1GB costs more than a fifth of average earnings.
Cost is the primary reason why an estimated 49% of the global population remains offline, according to the United Nations. Citizens of Chad, DR Congo, and the Central African Republic must all pay more than 20% of average earnings for 1GB of mobile broadband data. By contrast, the most affordable rates in the continent are in Egypt at 0.5% and Mauritius at 0.59%. Across sub-Saharan Africa, people living in markets with no competition could be paying an additional 5.83% of their monthly income for 1GB, on average.
To underscore the gravity of this cost, 7.1% per GB amounts to $141 per month for an average U.S. data consumer. This price is well above the Nigerian monthly minimum wage of $83.
Situational Awareness: Only 24% of Africa’s 1.2 billion people are online, according to the study. Prohibitive costs limit Africans’ access to the considerable socio-economic opportunities that come with being connected to the global digital economy. Since the A4AI is an initiative of The Web Foundation, with partner organizations that include Google (GOOG +0.33%) and Facebook (FB +0.81%), perhaps they can help move the needle further to get people on the continent connected.
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