South African’s feel like they pay a lot for data. One needs simply to tap “datamustfall” into Twitter to see how widespread the opinion is.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has taken a look at the claims made by the public and compared the cost of data within Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – the BRICS nations.

Its findings are published in a report analysing the tariff plans offered by local operators.

Icasa looked at the price of 500MB, 1GB and 2GB packages in each country and compared them. The prices are listed in US dollars using the global market exchange rate.

From the data we can see that China is the most expensive territory to buy data in the BRICS nations with 500MB costing you $28.75 on average. South Africa is the third most expensive trailing just behind our Brazilian peers.

The data above however only looks at the average cost of data. Icasa also looked at the cheapest and most expensive data packages in each of the BRICS nations.

In South Africa the body found that the difference between the cheapest ($7.15) and most expensive 2GB package ($19.57) was as much as $12.42. The same trend can be seen in other data packages.

Cheapest Highest Difference
500MB $2.63 $7.90 $5.27
1GB $4.89 $12.04 $7.15
2GB $7.15 $19.57 $12.42

In some instances one could actually use the difference between the cheapest and highest data package to purchase the cheapest package again.

There is however, some good news.

When looking at the countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) the price of data in South Africa is actually below the average.

“SA does not have the most expensive prepaid data bundle prices for the 500MB, 1GB and 2GB in the┬áSADC region. It is also not the cheapest, however, its prices are below the average price of all the SADC prices across the categories,” said Icasa.

The title of most expensive data in the SADC region goes to Botswana where 500MB will cost you $26.95 and Zimbabwe where 1GB and 2GB of data will cost you $30 and $50 respectively.

You can find the full Icasa report here.


Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.