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July 21, 2020
While you’re probably generally familiar with the relative costs of your local phone service providers for calling and data, what about the rest of the world? For example, did you know that North America has, on average, the most expensive phone data?
Here are three of the cheapest, and three of the most expensive countries for data (as of July 2020):
It should probably come as little surprise that India, with its highly competitive, booming tech sector, and a relatively high level of tech literacy, has incredibly cheap data. India’s major service providers, such as Jio and Airtel, provide a generous range of pre-paid and post-paid plans for their users, depending on how much, and how often, you need data for your phone.
In general, most of the countries of the former Soviet Union have very cheap phone data, and Russia, with the world’s 4th largest smartphone market, is no exception. Built upon heavy state and private investment in mobile phone infrastructure since 1994 (with infrastructure built in every province of the federation), Russia’s market is dominated by four service providers that are roughly equally matched, which creates competitive pricing for their services.
Italy has well-established 4G and fibre broadband infrastructure, and is now in the process of rolling out 5G in 2020, making data plans incredibly cheap and coverage almost uniform throughout the country. What is more, is that you are spoilt for choice with four major service providers and many smaller providers.
Canada is somewhat infamous for the cost of its phone plans and data, with eye-watering bills for plans that seem meagre compared to other countries in the world. Canada’s large geography and small population might contribute to these higher costs, but unlike more competitive markets, Canada’s three major service providers and offer a smaller range of (expensive) choices when it comes to pre-paid and post-paid plans.
Although smartphone usage in the United States is among the highest in the world, Americans pay a premium for their mobile data. Although 4G networks are offered by three major providers (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile/Sprint), each provider offers their service on an incompatible frequency band from the others, meaning, depending on where you are located in the US you are and which provider you choose, consistency of service may vary.
Although the first country in Europe to deploy a 5G wireless service, and with historically exceptional service coverage across the small nation, Swiss phone data pricing is a little on the high side. This can be partly explained by the very high standard of living and average incomes of the Swiss, as well as the relative strength of the Swiss franc against the U.S. dollar. One thing of note is that while data is more expensive, their phones tend to be cheaper due to the lower taxes in Switzerland compared to the rest of Europe.
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