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South Africa reported to have the most expensive mobile broadband

South Africa ranks first and second in the “Most expensive pack cost by country” category, in a recent survey of broadband prices by Communications Chambers, with Cell C and Virgin Mobile’s 60GB annual plan in first place and Vodacom’s 20GB 3G annual plan in second.

The recent research project found price observations for nearly 1,500 global fixed broadband plans from 93 countries and nearly 2,200 mobile broadband plans from 106 countries.

Online Africa analysed the raw data and filtered by African country to compare costs of pre-paid mobile broadband plans available in 27 countries on the continent. Comparing plans among different countries, let alone different domestic operators proves extremely challenging.

Plans vary by duration of validity and data limitations. In addition, technology (2G, 3G, 3.5G) plays a role in cost. To keep the analysis as “apples to apples” as possible, the data was categorised based on these factors.

Due to the fact that most Africans experience the Internet through the use of a mobile phone, in many countries talking of broadband is equivalent to speaking of mobile broadband.

With that as it is, the shift to mobile broadband is a slow one in Africa. Although mobile user growth rates are high and competition is increasing, the user-base is still relatively low.

Cheapest possible plan:
- $0.03, Ghana (Airtel pay as you go 1MB)
- $0.05, Angola (Unitel Net light 1MB)
- $0.06, Kenya (Safaricom PrePay 4MB)
- $0.08, Kenya (yu 10MB 3G)
- $0.13, Tanzania (Airtel Hourly 3G)
- $0.15, Zimbabwe (Econet Default 1MB)

Cheapest daily plan:
East Africa generally has the lowest daily plan pricing.

- $0.08, Kenya (yu 10MB)
- $0.17, Egypt (Mobinil 5MB)
- $0.20, Uganda (MTN 20MB)
- $0.20, Uganda (Orange 20MB)
- $0.28, Tanzania (tiGO 20MB 3G)
- $0.32, Tanzania (Airtel 3G)
- $0.32, Tanzania (Zantel 30MB)

Cheapest pack cost by country (note: difficult to compare since MB & duration vary):

Reflects the cheapest plan included in the dataset, regardless of data or duration. In general, no more than three operators per country were included, so others may offer a slightly cheaper plan than listed here.

- Ghana, $0.03 (1MB)
- Angola, $0.05 (1MB)
- Kenya, $0.06 (4MB)
- Tanzania, $0.13 (1 hour)
- Zimbabwe, $0.15 (1MB)
- Egypt, $0.17 (5MB)
- Zambia, $0.19 (1MB)
- Uganda, $0.20 (20MB)
- Malawi, $0.24 (12MB)
- South Africa, $0.24 (1MB)
- Nigeria, $0.31 (4MB)
- Mali, $0.38 (5MB)
- Benin, $0.47 (10MB, 1 hour)
- Sierra Leone, $0.50 (5MB)
- Burkina Faso, $0.57 (1 day)
- Niger, $0.57 (30 min)
- Madagascar, $0.94 (20MB, 1 day)
- Senegal, $0.95 (1 hour)
- Togo, $0.95 (2 hours)
- Morocco, $1.13 (1 day)
- Tunisia, $1.24 (2 days)
- Algeria, $1.31 (15MB)
- Rwanda, $1.32 (2GB)
- Chad, $1.51 (30MB)
- Cameroon, $1.89 (1 day)
- Libya, $4.69 (50MB)

Most expensive pack cost by country:

In general, 20GB plans are the costliest. However, Millicom Tchad’s 5GB plan is relatively expensive.

- South Africa: $1,085.98 Cell C & Virgin 60GB yearly
- South Africa: $376.80 Vodacom 20GB
- Sierra Leone: $250 Airtel 20GB monthly
- Uganda: $163.31 MTN 10GB monthly
- Zambia: $146.20 Zamtel 20GB 90 days
- Kenya: $134.18 Safaricom 25GB 90 days
- Chad: $94.57 Millicom Tchad 5GB

Monthly 3G/3.5G comparison:

A typical 3G monthly pre-paid plan for 1GB of data runs in the $20 range. Libyana oddly offers a miniscule 100MB 3G plan. MTN Rwanda is notable for offering unlimited monthly data for under $35. At $47 per month, Orange Niger’s pre-paid plan can be considered extremely expensive given the nation’s income levels.

- Libya $7.81 for 100MB (Libyana)
- Ghana $15.96 for 1.5GB (Vodafone)
- Nigeria $18.76 for 1GB (Glo)
- Zambia $21.56 for 1GB (Zamtel)
- Tanzania $22.12 for 3GB (tiGO)
- Morocco $22.55 for 1 month (INWI)
- Malawi $23.81 for 1.5GB (TNM)
- Mozambique $27.47 for 1GB (mCel)
- Rwanda $34.57 for unlimited (MTN)
- Niger $47.29 for 4GB (Orange)

Price variation given similar plans:

Proof that competition keeps prices and offerings in check.

- Ghana: $0.53 for either MTN 25MB or Vodafone 30MB
- Nigeria: $0.63 for either Glo 10MB or MTN 10MB
- Rwanda: $1.32 for Tigo 3.5G 2GB all day or $1.65 MTN 3G unlimited daily
- Tanzania (3G): $0.28 for tiGO 20MB daily or $0.32 Airtel daily or $0.32 Zantel 30 MB daily
- Uganda: $0.20 for either MTN or Orange 20MB

Comparison for equal data & duration plans

Unlimited 1 day: Togo Cell’s plan is notably more expensive than others.

- Togo: $2.84 Togo Cell
- Rwanda: $1.65 MTN
- Kenya: $0.46 yu

10GB 1 month: Pricing is not all that different across four nations (three regions).

- Mozambique: $84.25 mCel
- Malawi: $71.43 Airtel
- Ghana: $63.83 MTN
- Tanzania: $62.58 tiGO

5GB 1 month: Zantel Tanzania’s plan is substantially cheaper than others (1/2 Orange Senegal, 1/4 Millicom Tchad).

- Chad: $94.57 Millicom Tchad
- Senegal: $47.49 Orange
- Tanzania: $25.48 Zantel

1GB 1 month:

- Nigeria: $21.89 MTN
- Nigeria: $18.76 Airtel
- Uganda: $18.15 Orange

200MB 1 month:

- Nigeria: $6.25 Etisalat
- Ghana: $2.66 Airtel

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