India's mobile data consumption figures are mind-boggling. Reliance Jio, which is the most disruptive telecom provider in the country, witnessed over 2 exabytes of data consumed in the first quarter this year, which translates to over 2 million terabytes of mobile data used in just three months. The competition brought on by Jio brought a significant change in how mobile data is sold, forcing Airtel, Vodafone and other telcos to follow the suit and compete aggressively. With this, Indian mobile users were benefited with ultra-affordable mobile data, so cheap that no other country in the world matches what Indian telcos offer.
Comparing the mobile data rates in different countries shows India leads with the lowest cost, which is mainly driven by intense market competition. On one hand, Indian telecoms are offering 1GB mobile data at $0.09 or Rs 6.7, there are countries that go as high as $27 per GB. In fact, in 2018, India offered 1GB data at $0.3 or Rs 18.5, but the data offered by telcos now is about 65 percent cheaper.
Why low cost data is great news?
Reliance Jio, Airtel, Vodafone Idea are engaged in a cut-throat competition in offering the best data plans in a bid to retain old customers and gain new ones. With the affordability of 4G, there's an advent of a new digital age, in line with the government's vision of a Digital India. The smartphone market has flourished, giving way for many OEMs such as Xiaomi, Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, Apple and many more. Digital literacy has also increased manifold as a direct impact of the slashed prices of mobile data.
By offering affordable data to consumers, the digital infrastructure enables ease of access to services like banking, governance and more. India has also been pushing on digital empowerment, for which having affordable mobile data even in the remotest parts of the country furthers the mission.
How much 1GB data costs in other countries?
Visual Capitalist put together a graph, sourcing data from Cable.co.UK, which shows Israel ($0.11), Kyrgyzstan ($0.21), Italy ($0.43) and Ukraine ($0.46) are the countries where 1GB mobile data is cheaper than any other country.
The difference between the cheapest price for data and most expensive one is a staggering 30,000 percent. Malawi tops the list of offering the most expensive data at $27.41 per GB, followed by Benin ($27.22), Chad ($23.33), Yemen ($15.98) and Botswana ($13.87).
In countries like Canada and Greece, per GB cost for mobile data is over $12. The high market concentration in Canada explains the high cost. Bell Rogers and Telus collectively dominate the Canada's telecom industry, leaving little room for disruption and competition. In the US, the cost of 1GB is $8, which is still above the global average of over $5 per GB.