Everyone is thinking it, we may as well be the first to answer the question: When I leave Zimbabwe, which country has the cheapest mobile data packages I can buy? (Disclaimer: Techzim is patriotic, it’s right there in the name.)
We decided to look at the average mobile data prices from around our little blue globe. The data cost for some countries (Zimbabwe included) cannot be calculated easily because of economic issues that lead to an unstable currency whose value cannot be determined easily. Other countries that fall into this category are Venezuela, South Sudan, Vatican City, Congo, Eritrea, North Korea and some other lesser-known territories. For Zimbabwe, we used the official foreign currency exchange rate.
The mobile data packages considered were only monthly packages. We took the 1GB bundle or the nearest volume. For providers without a 1GB bundle like the local provider ZOL, we calculated the cost from their cheapest bundle.
Factors that determine the cost of data:
Infrastructure is the highest determining factor for the cost of data. Zimbabwe does not have a dedicated internet data provider or connection so to speak, hence we rely on Econet/Liquid Telecoms, ZOL, TelOne and Government Internet Service Provider (GISP) who rely on someone else’s infrastructure. This means for such countries, the connectivity cost is quite high and that cost is passed down to us as consumers.
This lack of infrastructure has also been a limiting factor in the flow of investment from the global community in industries that rely heavily on the internet. This gap is seemingly widening as some countries are already going past the 4G phase into 5G while Zimbabwe still has 2G facilities in parts of the country. Some territories still have no connectivity at all with only SMS/call infrastructure.
- Disposable income of the population
In countries with thriving economies, goods and services tend to be priced higher since the average Joe (and Jane) can afford to pay for it. This economic rule also applies to internet data and Germany is a shining example of this.
- Data consumption level
In Zimbabwe, there are very few people who use internet data (we do not consider social media bundles here). This low consumption leads to smaller data bundle packages from Internet Service Providers (ISPs). When you purchase a 1GB bundle in such an environment, you tend to spend more compared to countries with higher data consumption.
We’ve created a fancy infographic to better illustrate the data price comparisons. Also note that we only included some of the easiest countries one can emigrate to from Zimbabwe or countries one may wish to start a new life in. There are a few noteworthy countries that have been included such as Israel and Kyrgyzstan due to the prices of their data which is either very low or very high.
From the infographic above we can see that most countries lie below the $5 line making data quite affordable if you do decide to drop by any of them. Our very own Zimbabwe sits at $3.70 which is cheaper than South Africa. Data in Zimbabwe has become cheaper compared to previous years. The problem for most is that getting our hands on United States Dollars to buy the data is quite difficult.
What we can tell you with 100% certainty is not to even think of moving to Malawi.
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