The latest report by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) says Zimbabwe has highest mobile data costs in the region at $25 per gigabyte.
The fifth edition of the annual report examines internet access trends and policies in 61 low and middle-income countries across the globe, including in Africa, Asia, Americas and the Caribbean.
Zambia has the second costliest data at $13,27 peg gigabyte, South Africa at $11,33 while Kenya, Tunisia and Nigeria are at $4,81, $4 and $2,76 respectively.
The reports shows that in Tanzania data retails at $4,40, Mozambique $3,30 and Egypt has the least expensive mobile data at $0,84 per gig.
“Inability to afford a basic internet connection remains one of the most significant — and solvable — barriers to access. Around the world, over two billion people live in a country where just 1GB of mobile data is unaffordable,” the report reads.
A4AI says many countries still need to work on implementing their digital strategies to ensure prices of data come down and to improve access. The last five years have also seen a serious slowdown in the rate at which people are coming online as a result of expensive data costs, it adds.
“This issue is particularly acute in low and middle income countries, where 1GB of data costs over 5% of what people earn in a month a price that is well over the affordable threshold of 1GB of data priced at 2% or less of average income,” the report reads.
Last year’s Affordability Report predicted that there would be a 50% global internet penetration by the end of 2017.
“… a downturn in the growth of internet access and use means that we now don’t expect to reach that milestone until mid-2019,” it said.
The cost of data is any emotive issue in the southern Africa region and last year led to the #datamustfall hashtag in South Africa.