Here’s how internet costs in SA compare to the rest of the world

Business Insider SA
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  • The average cost of fixed broadband internet access in South Africa is R899.
  • This is in a similar price bracket to Australia, New Zealand, and the US.
  • But below-average download speeds mean you’re not getting good value for money
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The price of broadband internet access in South Africa is aligned with global averages but slow internet speeds raise questions around value. Out of 211 countries surveyed in 2020, South Africa’s fixed-line pricing ranks at 132 with 41 packages measured.

A study conducted by, between 29 October and 9 December 2020, analysed 3,288 fixed-line broadband packages. Average regional prices, determined in US dollars, have been compared on a global scale, revealing the most expensive and cheapest internet prices in the world.

South Africa doesn’t represent a stand-out performance for cost effectiveness or exorbitance. A middle-of-the-road ranking puts the country’s average broadband cost among similar prices offered by the US, Australia, and New Zealand.

The study determined the average price of broadband internet in South Africa – defined as ADSL, fibre and wireless connections – to be $60.06, which, with conversion rates frozen at the time of the report’s completion on 12 December 2020, equalled R899.

Costs in New Zealand are only marginally higher, with an average package pricing of R944. Internet access is slightly cheaper in Australia, with 32 packages studied determining an average price of R888. South Africa ranks closest to the US, which has an average broadband price of $59.

The cost of fixed internet access in South Africa is cheaper than the global average of $78.14 or R1,174. Additionally, the country offers more fixed broadband internet package options than any other country in Africa, with the exception of Tunisia, and is far cheaper than the sub-continent’s average cost of $185.57 or R2,790.

The cheapest internet available in the world can be found in the Ukraine, where the average price of broadband packages falls under R100 with a per-megabit cost of just 75 cents. Internet access in Russia, Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan is also inexpensive at under R150.

Five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa account for the most expensive, and hard to come by, broadband internet in the world. The average package cost in Eritrea is almost R40,000, while internet in Burundi and the Comoros costs between R5,500 and R6,200, respectively. In Ghana, the average price of broadband internet is R3,819, more than 300% costlier than access in South Africa.

A previous report by, which compared global internet speeds in 211 countries, puts the latest pricing data into perspective. In the speed report published in July 2020, South Africa ranks fairly at 97, with a below-average broadband download speed of 14.04 megabytes per second (mbps). And while it rivals developed nations in terms of pricing, South Africa fails to compete in the value-for-money race.

The average internet speed in Australia is more than 80% faster with an average download rate of 25.65 mbps. Speeds are far faster in New Zealand, averaging 66.66 mbps and 71.30 mbps in the US. In this way, South Africa’s internet speed and price comparison is more closely tied to countries like Bahrain and Madagascar.

In terms of value for money, European and Asian nations dominate the global internet rankings. In Europe, the average download speed exceeds 50 mbps and costs just $42 or R630. In Asia, the average download speed is 20 mbps and costs $46 or R691.

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