UK has some of the most expensive mobile data in Europe

(Image credit: Shutterstock) (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Mobile data in the UK is more expensive than 135 other countries in the world, according to new research from, which analysed various SIM-Only plans in 230 territories.

The cost per-gigabyte in the UK is $6.66, cheaper than Germany, but more expensive then France, Italy and Spain. 

India is the cheapest place in the world to purchase data at just $0.26 a GB, with Asian nations making up ten of the top 20.

The US is among the most expensive in the developed world at $12.37 (182nd), while the most expensive country is Zimbabwe at $75.20. Sub-Saharan African nations make up four of the bottom five, while island nations in Oceania and the Caribbean also tended to be among the dearest.

Mobile data around the world

“Many of the cheapest countries in which to buy mobile data fall roughly into one of two categories. Some have excellent mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure and so providers are able to offer large amounts of data, which brings down the price per gigabyte,” said Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at

“Others with less advanced broadband networks are heavily reliant on mobile data and the economy dictates that prices must be low, as that’s what people can afford.”

“At the more expensive end of the list, we have countries where often the infrastructure isn’t great but also where consumption is very small. People often buy data packages of just tens of megabytes at a time, making a gigabyte a relatively large and therefore expensive amount of data to buy. 

"Many countries in the middle of the list have good infrastructure and competitive mobile markets, and while their prices aren’t among the cheapest in the world they wouldn’t necessarily be considered expensive by their consumers.”

This is true in the UK and other parts of Europe, where operators have frequently claimed about prices being driven down by intense competition and strict regulation.

It is also worth pointing out that many operators offer bundles of data with a subsidised handset and minimum contract term, packages that would not have appeared in this research.

For example, it is possible to get a Samsung Galaxy S10 and 100GB of data for £68 a month over a 24-month period. This is equivalent to £0.68 ($0.90) a month.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.