After a few decades of extraordinary growth, there are more cell phones on the planet than there are humans – and keeping all of those phones supplied with data is big business.
The difference in mobile data costs between countries can vary enormously, however.
A new report looked at average data prices in 155 different countries around the globe and found a 30,000% difference between the cheapest and most expensive markets.
A report on average mobile data prices from 155 countries around the world found the US was the 18th most expensive country in the world, with an average cost of $8.00 for 1GB of mobile data
The US ranked as the 18th most expensive country in the world for mobile data, with an average price of $8.00 for 1GB of mobile data, according to the report, from VisualCapitalist.
The most expensive countries in the world were in Subsaharan Africa, where low population density and lack of national cell tower infrastructure makes accessing mobile data difficult.
Malawi was the most expensive country for mobile data in the world, with 1GB costing an average of $27.41, while the top five was filled out by Benin, Chad, Yemen, and Botswana.
‘With overburdened networks, the data bundles offered in the region are generally smaller,’ the report explains. ‘This drives up the average cost per GB when compared to countries with unlimited packages.’
The cheapest mobile data in the world comes from India, where the cost of 1GB is just $0.09, something the researchers attribute to escalating competition between the country’s four main service providers.
The current market leader, Jio, provides data to almost 383 million Indians, or around 33% of the country’s overall mobile market.
The researchers anticipate that mobile data prices could see major increases as new 5G plans are introduced
The company’s main competitors – Airtel and Vodafone Idea – both respectively cover more than 28% of the country’s population, which has led to aggressive sale prices and special offers, including free trial periods for new subscribers, and plans that start at the equivalent of just $1 a month.
The countries with the next most inexpensive data were Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Italy, and Ukraine, all of which were marked by a high percentage of the population who used phones regularly as well as a relatively well-developed national infrastructure.
According to the researchers, average data prices could see significant increases in the next several years as more countries begin unveiling 5G.
A recent market report from Ericsson estimated that some 84 million people worldwide would sign up for 5G by the end of 2020, and within two years that number would rise to 645million.
WHAT IS 5G AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
The evolution of the G system started in 1980 with the invention of the mobile phone which allowed for analogue data to be transmitted via phone calls.
Digital came into play in 1991 with 2G and SMS and MMS capabilities were launched.
Since then, the capabilities and carrying capacity for the mobile network has increased massively.
More data can be transferred from one point to another via the mobile network quicker than ever.
5G is expected to be 100 times faster than the currently used 4G.
Whilst the jump from 3G to 4G was most beneficial for mobile browsing and working, the step to 5G will be so fast they become almost real-time.
That means mobile operations will be just as fast as office-based internet connections.
Potential uses for 5g include:
- Simultaneous translation of several languages in a party conference call
- Self-driving cars can stream movies, music and navigation information from the cloud
- A full length 8GB film can be downloaded in six seconds.
5G is expected to be so quick and efficient it is possible it could start the end of wired connections.
By the end of 2020, industry estimates claim 50 billion devices will be connected to 5G.
The evolution of from 1G to 5G. The predicted speed of 5G is more than 1Gbps – 1,000 times greater than the existing speed of 4G and could be implemented in laptops of the future