With so much going on in the world right now, especially in South Africa, the data must fall movement is still quietly raging in the background. It has borne fruit recently with MTN reaching an agreement with the Competition Commission, but how does our country stack up to the rest of the world when it comes to mobile data prices? 

This has been answered to a degree by telecoms comparison site Cable.co.uk, which recently released its results for a massive investigation into global data pricing in 228 countries. 

As you may have expected South Africa performed poorly ranking right near the bottom at 148th place. 

To arrive at this conclusion Cable.co.uk looked at 5 554 mobile data plans across the globe focusing on one gigabyte of data. This amount is nothing to be scoffed at as you can do quite a bit of browsing with a single gigabyte thanks to the optimised nature of the modern web, but it certainly isn’t a gigantic quantity you could depend on for luxury endeavours such as constant streaming. Even basic work and school activities based mainly on text would deplete a gig in short order. 

With all that in mind it’s also worth noting that many factors come into play when buying data. Contract types, promotions, bundles and more all throw a spanner into the works. There’s also the fact that, usually, buying more data results in a cheaper price per gigabyte. 

For those who want to dig deep into how the investigation was conducted, Cable.co.uk has made its full data set, methodology, findings and more available on this landing page

For South Africa the investigation overview looks like this: 

  • Rank: 148th out of 228 countries
  • Average price of 1GB of mobile data: $4.30 (~R65.36)
  • Cheapest 1GB of mobile data: $0.32 (~R4.86)
  • Most expensive 1GB of mobile data: $30.47 (~R463.14)
  • Data plans measured: 54

US Dollars have been used for all the price findings in this study, and we’ve converted this into rands using the exchange rate on 25th February when the data was captured. It’s worth noting that, since February, the conversion rate has taken a sharp turn because of international turmoil.

Outside of our country ranked number one in the world is India with one gigabyte costing an average of $0.09 (~R1.65 at today’s exchange rate). On the other end of the scale is Saint Helena with that cost skyrocketing to $52.50 (~R964.71 also at today’s exchange rate).

For more data as well as tools such as the country map, head here.