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Nigeria's 1GB data price has dropped 75% over five years

Mobile data prices in Nigeria have dropped by 75% over five years. This according to Research ICT Africa's (RIA's) 1GB Basket statistics, which show the average price of 1GB of data has dropped from $11.15 in mid-2014 to $2.78 at the end of 2019.

RIA is a policy and regulation think-tank and its 1GB Basket compares the average price of 1GB of mobile data across different African countries, in US dollars.

The declining price of data has been a trend across the continent, although different markets still have very different pricing structures. Nigeria is on the cheaper side of the scale, coming 14th cheapest on the continent in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Nigeria's data prices declined steadily between 2014 and 2015 and then there was a big drop of 44% between the second quarter and the fourth quarter of 2015, from $9.11 to $5.06. More steady declines came over the next two years, and since the end of 2017 the price of 1GB has been sitting steadily at around $2.80.

Interestingly, when it comes to the different mobile operators in Nigeria, by the fourth quarter of 2019 all the operators had the same average price per GB at $2.78. In fact, they have maintained the same pricing since mid-2017, with the exception of Spectranet, which has had higher pricing.

The RIA data shows that MTN Nigeria's data prices started off very low in 2014, at $1.67 per GB, and then shot up to over $8 in early 2015, before coming down again to $3.25 in mid-2016 and then stabilized from 2017 onwards. In contrast, rival Airtel started off high in 2014, with 1GB costing $8.58, but this price dropped to just $0.12 by mid-2015, and then skyrocketed back to $9.71 in mid-2016, before falling to more reasonable levels at around $3 a quarter later.

The Alliance for Affordable Internet estimates that 1GB of data in Nigeria in 2019 was the equivalent of 1.7% of the average monthly income of Nigerians. In comparison, the price of 1GB in Egypt was 0.50% of average income; 2.17% in South Africa; 3.10% in Kenya; and 26.24% of average income in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa. This article first appeared on Connecting Africa, our partner media site.