Sub-Saharan Africa's broadband price rip-off uncovered

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Sub-Saharan Africa fares worst overall with its expensive data prices, says
Sub-Saharan Africa fares worst overall with its expensive data prices, says

Sub-Saharan African countries have the most expensive broadband prices in the world.

This is according to a report released today by, which analysed data from 3 303 fixed-line broadband deals in 195 countries, with the assistance of consumer insight consultancy BVA BDRC, between 15 August and 20 September.

The study notes the Ukraine offers the world's cheapest broadband, with an average cost of $5 per month. The West African nation of Mauritania is the most expensive, with an average package price of $768.16.

Despite significant year-on-year ups and downs in broadband pricing in various countries around the world, says Cable, the average price of a broadband deal globally remains constant, dropping just $0.12 overall, from $73.04 to $72.92, or around 1.64%, between the fourth quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2018.

In a previous report, analysed over 163 million broadband speed tests to rank 200 countries by the average Internet speed they offer.

Price fluctuations

Commenting on the findings of the research internationally, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at, says: "Despite many countries providing faster access year-on-year, and the price of broadband fluctuating, sometimes wildly, from country to country, on average the price of broadband worldwide remains largely unchanged, falling just 1.64% since the fourth quarter of 2017.

"In our worldwide broadband speed comparison, released earlier this year, similar disparities were apparent to those seen here. The countries with slow, patchy broadband infrastructure that supply only a fraction of the population tend to be the most expensive. Likewise, those with exceptional, often full-fibre (FTTH) infrastructure supplying the majority of the population tend to be the cheapest, if not in absolute terms, certainly on a cost-per-megabit basis."

SA sits at number 93 out of 195 countries, with an average cost of broadband of $55.25 per month. In last year's report, SA ranked number 102.

Since 2016, South Africans have been calling for mobile data prices to come down under the social media banner #DataMustFall.

Last month, mobile operators tried to explain to the Competition Commission why data prices are not where consumers want them to be.

Nonetheless, Cable says sub-Saharan Africa fared worst overall, with almost all of its countries in the most expensive half of the table.

R'eunion, off the east coast of Madagascar, was the cheapest in the region, coming in 48th overall with an average package price of $35.45.

Mauritania, meanwhile, charges residential users an average of $768.16 per month and is the most expensive in the world.

Mali ($160.53), Tanzania ($181.80), Burkina Faso ($201.94) and Namibia ($383.83) join Mauritania as the most expensive countries in the region, and sit among the 10 most expensive countries in the world.

Cheapest countries

According to Cable, four of the top six cheapest countries in the world are found in the former USSR (Commonwealth of Independent States), including the Russian Federation itself, with an average package cost of just $9.77 per month.

Conversely, it notes the US has some of the most expensive broadband in the world, coming in 119th place with an average monthly package cost of $67.69.

Within Western Europe, Italy is the cheapest, with an average package price of $29.48 per month, followed by France ($31.14), Germany ($36.68) and Monaco ($37). The UK came in fifth cheapest out of 29 Western European nations (and 61st cheapest worldwide), with an average package price of $39.58 per month.

In the Near East region, war-ravaged Syria came in cheapest with an average monthly price of $13 per month (and ranked seventh overall), with Saudi Arabia ($95.72), Bahrain ($96.29), Qatar ($140.58), Oman ($150.63) and the United Arab Emirates ($157.10) providing the most expensive connectivity in the region.

Sri Lanka is the cheapest country in which to buy broadband in Asia (as well as second-cheapest globally) with an average package price of $5.65 per month, followed by Iran ($8.20) and Nepal ($6.47); all three rank among the top 10 cheapest in the world.

The Maldives ($81.55), Brunei Darussalam ($123.29) and Laos ($239.25) provide the most expensive package prices per month in the region.

Mexico is the cheapest country to buy a broadband deal in Central America, with an average broadband package cost per month of $33.32. Panama is the most expensive, with an average package price of $108.38 per month.

In North America, Canada offers the cheapest broadband on average ($57.66), coming in 22 positions ahead of the US globally ($67.69). Bermuda provides the most expensive packages in the region, with an average price of $124.36 per month.

Saint-Martin (France) offers the cheapest broadband in the Caribbean, with an average package price of $23.78 per month, with the British Virgin Islands ($141.17), Cayman Islands ($158.69), Antigua and Barbuda ($177.15) and Haiti ($207.39) at the most expensive end, both regionally and globally.

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