In a boost to the government's aim to ensure maximum mobile connectivity, India has ranked fifth among 233 countries in offering the cheapest mobile data to users. India ranks in the top 5 with the average cost of 1GB of mobile data at $0.17, thanks to cheap data prices as much of India’s population relies on mobile data to get online, fuelling demand, says the survey report 'The Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2022', compiled by Cable.co.uk.
Number one in the list of 233 countries analysed in terms of the average cost of 1GB of mobile data is Israel ($0.04), followed by Italy ($0.12), San Marino ($0.14), Fiji ($0.15), and India ($0.17).
Though India ranks among the top in offering cheap data plans, it’s coming at a cost – it has slipped three spots in the global ranking for mobile speed. The country recorded a 14 Mbps median mobile download speed in June 2022, which is slightly lower than the 14.28 Mbps recorded in May 2022, shows the latest data by connectivity insights company Ookla. This decrease in download speeds has brought the country to the 118th position in June from 115th in May 2022.
India has a huge wireless and broadband subscriber base. The latest government data shows there are 1,145.50 million wireless subscribers and 794.68 million broadband subscribers.
Reliance Jio commands the largest wireless subscriber base at 40.8 crore users as of May 31, 2022, followed by Bharti Airtel at 36.2 crore subscribers. The wireless subscriber base for Vodafone Idea stands at 25.8 crore and that of BSNL’s at 11.2 crore users.
Now India aims to start the 5G services in India by September-October, and the auction process of 5G spectrum is underway.
Israel, which offers the cheapest mobile data in the world, remains a global leader in the provision of 5G. In Israel, three-quarters of people own a smartphone and boast a higher smartphone market penetration than the United States.
Italy also offers the cheapest mobile data in Western Europe and also maintains the infrastructure in San Marino. 5G is now available to around 95% of the population, alongside ubiquitous 4G.
Among countries that offer the cheapest mobile data, they fall into two categories — either they have excellent mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure so providers offer large amounts of data that bring the cost per gigabyte down, or they have less advanced broadband networks but their economy heavily rely on mobile data and the economy dictates that prices must be low, says Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk.
According to the survey, the U.K. ($0.79) is the seventh cheapest in Western Europe and 59th cheapest in the world. The U.S. is one of the most expensive developed nations for buying mobile data, coming in 202nd in the world, with an average 1 GB cost of $5.62.
About 5,292 mobile data plans were analysed for the survey, which ranks countries like Saint Helena ($41.06), the Falkland Islands ($38.45), São Tomé and Príncipe ($29.49), Tokelau ($17.88) and Yemen ($16.58) as nations with most expensive internet.
Among the countries that offer expensive mobile data plans due to their location on the world map, two of the five are located in Sub-Saharan Africa, and four of five are island nations. Sub-Saharan Africa is the second-most expensive region in the world for mobile data, generally, while island nations also tend to be among the most expensive.