Cheap Mobile Data – Is it Productive for India?

India occupied spot number 1 among countries with cheap and affordable data. Africa is the poorest continent by GDP per capita. In Africa, countries in the southernmost part of the continent pay the most for 1 GB of data. Zimbabwe pays the highest price both in Africa and in the world ($ 75.2), and countries such as Equatorial Guinea ($65.83) and Saint Helena ($55.47) also pay more than $50. Conversely, Sudan ($0.68) and the democratic republic of Congo ($0.88) both pay less than $1 per GB.

Within Asian continent, countries in the Middle East and East Asia tend to have the most expensive mobile data plans. Countries in the SEA such as Sri Lanka ($0.78), Indonesia ($1.21) and Kazakhstan ($0.49) have lowest data plans. The cheapest country for data around the world is India with only $0.26 for 1 GB of data.

European countries have a great variation in cost for mobile data. Several countries pay more than $10 for 1 GB, such as Portugal ($13.98), Switzerland ($20.22). However, Ukraine pays only $0.51. 

Even though South Korea has been a trailblazer in exceptional mobile infrastructure and lightning fast internet for years, its prices are still quite hefty at $15 for 1 GB of data.

Price of Mobile Internet Asia


Price of Mobile Internet Africa


price of mobile internet europe




The mobile data cost varies due to high cost of broad band and the lack of competition that leads to those high prices. A center for public integrity analysis of internet prices in 5 US cities and 5 comparable French cities found that prices in the US were as much as 3.5 times higher than those in France for similar services.

The analysis shows that consumers in France have a choice between far greater number of providers – seven on average – than those in the US, where most residents can get service from no more than two companies. 

The centers analysis echoes the findings of several studies on internet pricing disparities worldwide.


How Does India Consume The Cheap Mobile Data?

Youtube Subscribers Categories India

Within categories, music channels find greatest number of subscribers at 340.67 mn in the year 2018. The next four spots are occupied by entertainment, news & politics, films and comedy aggregating to 546 mn subscribers. Then you have 74 mn subscribers to education channels.

Within channels, T- series occupies the first spot in the world with 78 mn subscribers followed by Set India, zee Music Company, zee TV, Sony music etc.

Screen Time - Indian Watching Videos

The average time spent by Indian watching videos online has grown to 52 minutes per day in 2018 from a mere 2 minutes in per day in 2012. It is expected to increase further to 67 minutes per day in 2019, according to media agency Zenith.


Cheap Mobile Data and its Implication on Electronics Goods Import

Electronic Imports India
Electronic Exports India
Composition of Electronic Goods Imports
Composition of Electronic Goods Imports

Affordable mobile data has led to surge in mobile handsets import along with electronic component imports. A new trend has been rise in electronic components, between FY 2018 and FY 2019 electronic components rose by 68.22% which are employed to assemble mobile handsets. In the broader picture, import bills rises.  

Electronic goods imports have exceeded imports of gold and it stands second to petroleum imports. For lowering the trade deficit, we will have to manufacture the electronic components in order to then assemble them and manufacture a mobile handset.

Indias Merchandise Imports
India’s Merchandise Imports


Share of  Electronic Goods in Merchandise Exports
Share of Electronic Goods in Merchandise Exports

Time share of Indians is occupied by channels in the category of Entertainment to a large extent plus with declining cost of the mobile handsets on a per unit basis, owning a handset is easier. The negative impact of rising mobile handset ownership is on over our trade deficit which balloons every year. Promoting domestic manufacturing of electronic components can only reduce our trade deficits.

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