Internet data is now more affordable in Zimbabwe based on people’s monthly average incomes, according to a new research by Alliance for Affordable Internet (AAI). AAI’s study found out that data in Zimbabwe has become more affordable because the average salaries of Zimbabweans increased last year.
AAI research says that the cost of data relative to the average monthly income of Zimbabwe dropped from 19.8% to 10.1% in 2018. I know it’s hard to believe that average monthly incomes increased in 2018 but that’s what happened according to World Bank’s data. World Bank says average incomes grew from US $1 370 in 2017 to US $ 1 790 in 2018.
How AAI came up with those findings
First of all, AAI picks and uses information of the largest Mobile Network Operator in a country. In this case, AAI used Econet’s information. After that, AAI looks at the cheapest way one can get 1GB data of Econet’s internet data with at least a month’s validity. In this case, AAI says that when they carried out their research in 2018, the cheapest way to get 1GB data was by buying 50MB per day bundles which cost $0.50 last year.
And finally, AAI takes a look at the amount of money one pulls out of their monthly income to buy 1GB data. This done to determine what percentage of salary would one use to buy 1GB data. In this case, to buy 1GB data used to cost 19.8% of a person’s salary in Zimbabwe in 2017 but in 2018, 1GB cost decreased to 10.1%. It is from this considerations that AAI discovered that data in Zimbabwe is now more affordable.
Not affordable enough
Even with the decrease in the relative cost of data, AAI says that data in Zimbabwe is still not yet affordable. AAI says that a country is deemed to have affordable data if 1GB data only cost 2% or less of average monthly income. Using this definition, Zimbabwe is still 8.1% away from claiming that it has affordable data.
Zimbabwe’s African counterparts such as Botswana, Namibia and Nigeria enjoy affordable data as they only have to spend 1.37%, 1.96% and 1.70%, respectively, of their monthly income on 1GB of data.
In other news, Sri Lanka has the most affordable data among Low-income countries as its people just spend 0.23% of monthly income on 1GB data. The polar opposite of Sri Lanka is D.R. Congo which has the least affordable internet among Low-income countries as it spends 26% of monthly income on 1GB data.
Although AAI’s study was mainly about affordability of data, it also brought out the cost of 1GB for Zimbabwe and other Low-income countries. According to AAI, 1GB of data cost US$ 15 in Zimbabwe which is quite different from that study which said Zimbabwe has the most expensive data priced at US $75 for 1GB. Actually in AAI’s report, Trinidad and Tobago has the most expensive data, priced at US $49.35.