DR Congo is leading in the East African Community region with the lowest mobile data prices in 2023, replacing Tanzania which had the least expensive data plans for three years up to 2022, a new global survey shows.
The EAC newest member has some of the cheapest mobile data plans in the region with average price of one gigabyte of mobile data costing 52 US cents, according to the data gathered between June to September this year by a British technology research firm, Cable.
The survey were 5,603 mobile data plans in 237 countries were gathered and analysed to compare the cost of mobile data, provides no data for previous years for DR Congo.
The EAC country, richly endowed with exceptional natural resources, had 23.04 million internet users at the start of 2023 in a country with an estimated population of 102 million people by mid-year. Internet penetration stood at 22.9 percent, according to datareportal.
It is seventh among countries with cheapest mobile data prices in Africa where Malawi is leading with an average price of 38 cents for one gigabyte of data followed by Nigeria (39 US cents), Ghana (40 US cents), Réunion (48 US cents), and Somalia (50 US cents).
Others are DR Congo (52 US cents), Rwanda (55 US cents), Western Sahara (58 US cents), Kenya (59 US cents) and Morocco (63 US cents) to complete the list of top ten countries with cheapest mobile data prices in Africa.
Tanzania had led other East African Community (EAC) member states with the lowest prices for mobile data with an average price for 1GB of 73 US cents from 2019 to 2022.
However the prices marginally increased to 84 US cents from 2022 to 2023 equivalent to 17 per cent increase while they declined in Rwanda by 50 per cent from 1.10 US dollars to 55 US cents in 2023 and dropped also in Kenya by 30 per cent from 84 US cents in 2022 to 59 US cents in 2023.
Burundi and Uganda also experienced a decline in data prices. The average prices for 1 GB of data fell by 41 per cent in Burundi from 1.84 US dollars in 2022 to 1.10 US dollars and dropped by 16 per cent in Uganda from 1.32 US dollars to 1.11 US dollars in 2023.
South Sudan already had the highest rate of data cost in the East African region in 2022 with average price for 1GB of 2.75 US dollars. By the end of the year, it increased once again, making the average cost of one gigabyte 23.7 US dollars, a whopping 763 per cent increase.
South Sudan is in the list of five most expensive in Africa in terms of the average cost of 1GB of mobile data. The list is led by Zimbabwe (43.75 US dollars), the Falkland Islands (40.58 US dollars), Saint Helena (40.13 US dollars), South Sudan (23.70 US dollars) and Tokelau (17.24 US dollars).
In the EAC region, South Sudan is followed by Uganda with the second most expensive data prices. The average price for one gigabyte of data in Uganda is 1.11 US dollar in 2023 down from 1.32 US dollars in 2022. Three of the five are located in Sub-Saharan Africa, and three of five are island nations.
Burundi has the third highest data prices in the EAC region with 1.10 US dollars.
On average, one gigabyte of mobile internet in the EAC region amounted to 4.6 US dollars in 2023, up from 1.43 US dollars which was slightly higher than in other regions.