It is hard to imagine the modem world without the internet. However, mobile internet is very expensive in some African countries. Importantly, the costs represent a challenge for most Africans. It is worth noting that, on average, African providers charge $3.30 per gigabyte. Interestingly, only the American continent has higher prices.
Notably, since incomes in Africa are low and the price of mobile prices are generally quite high. Interestingly, Malawi is an extreme example of inflated prices. For example, one gigabyte of mobile data here costs an average of $27.41. As a reminder, the United Nations recommends that this amount of data should cost no more than 2% gross national income per capita. However, in the case of Malawi, the cost equal to 87%.
Moreover, the price of mobile internet is also high in Benin as well as Chad, there too mobile internet is many times more expensive than would be appropriate after taking into account the state of the local economies.
Mobile internet and various reasons
There are several reasons why mobile internet so expensive in some African countries. People should keep in mind that, a major cost factor for providers is the infrastructure.
Providers had to upgrade from 2G to 3G to 4G and now 5G. Moreover, in many regions across the continent, it is quite difficult to install the equipment. There are many remote areas in Africa. As a result, companies have to spend a lot of money to provide mobile internet.
As mentioned above, there are other challenges as well. Importantly, the low number of competitors in the market is another important factor. For example, if there are only one or two providers in a country, they have little incentive to lower prices.
Let’s have a look at the third factor. Interestingly, mobile phone prices also depend on the policies of the individual country. Importantly, without the support of the government, it would be difficult to achieve this goal. However, Ethiopia is an exception because its mobile telephony is in public hands. It is worth mentioning that, no private-sector competition to the state-owned “Ethiotelecom” is allowed.
Moreover, let’s have a look at the operators as well as much depends on the provider. Interestingly, European companies such as Vodafone, Orange, as well as Altice Portugal or the Indian Airtel successfully operate in Africa. Nevertheless, there are local giant companies as well. For example, MTN from Nigeria and Telkom from South Africa. New local as well as foreign companies should enter the market. This way it will be easier to reduce the price of the mobile internet.