Data from 5,292 mobile data plans in 233 countries were gathered and analysed by Cable.co.uk between 16 March 2022 and 2 June 2022.
Israel is home to the cheapest mobile data plans in the world, with one gigabyte (1GB) of data costing an average of just USD 0.04. The most expensive place in the world to buy mobile data is Saint Helena, where the average cost of 1GB is USD 41.06 – over a thousand times the cost of mobile data in Israel. Italy is second-cheapest, with 1GB costing USD 0.12 on average. It’s followed by San Marino (USD 0.14) in third place.
The cheapest mobile data in Western Europe is in Italy – in second place overall – where the average price of 1GB is just USD 0.12. San Marino (USD 0.14) is the second-cheapest in Western Europe, followed by France (USD 0.23) and Monaco (USD 0.40). The UK (USD 0.79) is the 7th cheapest in Western Europe and 59th cheapest in the world.
Within Eastern Europe, Moldova (USD 0.26) is the cheapest followed by Poland (USD 0.41), Romania (USD 0.45) and Montenegro (USD 0.60). Greece is the most expensive in the region, with 1GB of data costing USD 5.30 on average.
A number of CIS countries are among the very cheapest in the world for mobile data and all but three sit inside the less expensive half of the table. Kyrgyzstan is sixth-cheapest in the world overall with an average of USD 0.17. At the bottom of the regional table is Turkmenistan (USD 14.27), which is also the seventh most expensive in the world.
Israel is the cheapest country in the Near East region and also the cheapest in the world, with 1GB costing an average of USD 0.04. Turkey (USD 0.39) is a distant second-cheapest, closely followed by Jordan (USD 0.63) and Iraq (USD 0.68). The most expensive mobile data in the region can be found in Yemen, where the average price of 1GB is USD 16.58.
Asian nations make up a third of the top 20 cheapest countries for mobile data, with both India (USD 0.17) and Nepal (USD 0.27) in the top ten. Only three Asian countries are more expensive than the global average of USD 3.12 – Japan (USD 3.85), British Indian Ocean Territory (USD 5.00) and South Korea, the most expensive in the region at USD 12.55.
All but one of the seven North African countries are in the cheapest half of the table. Algeria is the cheapest at USD 0.48, and the most expensive in the region is Mauritania (USD 2.74). All countries in this region are cheaper than the global average of USD 3.12. Northern Africa is the cheapest region in the world overall.
Sub-Saharan Africa has just five countries among the top 50 cheapest in the world – Ghana, in 40th place overall, is cheapest in the region at USD 0.61. The region also has five out of the ten most expensive countries in the world, with Saint Helena the most expensive in the world (USD 41.06), joined by São Tomé and Príncipe (USD 29.49), Botswana (USD 15.55), Togo (USD 12.94) and Seychelles (USD 12.66) at the bottom of the table.
The average price of 1GB of mobile data in all four North American countries is in excess of the global average of USD 3.12, making it the most expensive region overall. Greenland is the cheapest country in the region with an average cost of USD 3.36 and the most expensive is Canada (USD 5.94).
The cheapest mobile data plans in Central America can be found in Nicaragua, where 1GB of data costs USD 0.70 on average, and Honduras (USD 0.76). Prices are somewhat steeper in El Salvador (USD 1.27) and Guatemala (USD 1.28). The most expensive country in Central America is Panama, where an average 1GB costs USD 2.98.
Most Caribbean nations are in the more expensive half of the list but the difference between the most expensive and the cheapest is extreme. The Cayman Islands are the most expensive in the Caribbean with an average of USD 10.43, while an average 1GB in Haiti is 28 times cheaper at USD 0.37.
Uruguay, with an average of USD 0.27, Colombia (USD 0.49) and Chile (USD 0.51) are the only South American countries to make it into the top 50 cheapest in the world. Brazil (USD 0.74) is the next cheapest in South America followed by Ecuador (USD 1.00). The most expensive in the region is the Falkland Islands at USD 38.45 – it is also the second most expensive in the world.
The average 1GB of data costs USD 0.15 in Fiji, making it the cheapest country in Oceania, and the 4th cheapest in the world. The region’s island nations are mostly in the more expensive half of the table, with Tokelau being the most expensive at USD 17.88. Australia comes in at second cheapest in the region at USD 0.57, with New Zealand a long way behind – 18th in the region with an average 1GB cost of USD 6.72.
In previous reports, Cable.co.uk analysed more than a billion broadband speed tests to rank 224 countries by average internet speed, and revealed the cost of getting online in 220 countries. Cable.co.uk also analysed the cost of electricity tariffs in 230 countries.
Data was also gathered in 2020 to better understand the effect of Covid lockdown periods on global network speeds.
Commenting on the UK specifically, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, said:
"The cost of 1GB of mobile data in the UK has improved substantially over the last 12 months, moving from USD 1.48 (78th place) to USD 0.79 (59th place). Contrary to what one might expect as the costs of living continues to rise, the average package cost has fallen, from USD 23.28 to USD 17.58.
"However, it should be noted that increasingly high data limits are pushing the most expensive tier of tariffs into the 'unlimited' category, whose price cannot be measured in a study such as ours, which aims to compare the cost of 1GB."
Commenting on the worldwide rankings, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, said:
"Many of the cheapest countries in which to buy mobile data fall roughly into one of two categories. Some have excellent mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure and so providers are able to offer large amounts of data, which brings down the price per gigabyte. Others with less advanced broadband networks are heavily reliant on mobile data and the economy dictates that prices must be low, as that’s what people can afford.
"At the more expensive end of the list, we have countries where often the infrastructure isn’t great but also where consumption is very small. People are often buying data packages of just a tens of megabytes at a time, making a gigabyte a relatively large and therefore expensive amount of data to buy. Many countries in the middle of the list have good infrastructure and competitive mobile markets, and while their prices aren’t among the cheapest in the world, they wouldn’t necessarily be considered expensive by its consumers."