In the Western world, affordable internet has quickly become the norm over the past decade or so, but in developing countries, things are very different. In fact, the countries where digital financial services, fintech, and Bitcoin could all make a significant impact, are home to some of the most expensive internet rates. These rates need to be made cheaper over the next few years if we want to achieve financial inclusion.
#6 Zambia – US$98.87 / month
To most consumers in the Western world, paying a monthly bill of US$100 is usually for a combination of services, e.g. the Internet, a land line phone, and television. But in Zambia, that is the price of an Internet connection alone–or to be more precise, for a 10Mbps connection, which is rather slow according to current norms. In fact, Internet connection is one of the most expensive services in the country. A monthly utility bill for electricity, heating, water, and garbage, is just US$60.33.
#5 Tanzania – US$118.02 / month
The price gap between Zambia and Tanzania is quite remarkable, even though the same service is offered for a higher price. While Internet connection is ridiculously expensive, so are the other utility costs, which add up to US$94.86 a month. On the other hand, cigarettes (US$1.80/pack) and fresh white bread (US$0.69/loaf) are rather cheap in comparison.
#4 Myanmar- US$120 / month
Obtaining specific pricing information for Myanmar is not an easy task, given its location on the map. However, according to Numbeo, the average internet price per month is more expensive than Tanzania. Don’t ever think about buying wine in the country either, as that will set you back US$18/bottle. In fact, there is hardly anything inexpensive about Myanmar, other than its domestic beer.
#3 Uzbekistan – US$127.83 / month
Considering that we are still talking about the same level of Internet speed and connectivity, the price in Uzbekistan is borderline insane. Then again, it is not the most expensive country for Internet services either. On the upside, they have incredibly cheap fresh white bread (US$0.33/loaf) and one-way local transportation tickets (US$0.20). Plus, housing is somewhat acceptably priced as well, depending on one’s preferences.
#2 Bermuda – US$134.33 / month
A lot of things have allegedly disappeared in the Bermuda triangle, but the country is making people’s wages disappear when they subscribe to Internet service. Having a meal at a restaurant is virtually impossible, and everything is very expensive in that part of the world. In fact, the rent is over 200% higher than in most Western countries, which is hardly imaginable. Them again, most residents have a monthly salary, after tax, of US$3,800 or more, which offsets these prices by some degree.
#1 Ethiopia – US$197.71 / month
For the price of an average Ethiopian Internet bill, people in the Western world can do a lot of things. Thankfully, Internet is also about the only truly expensive commodity in the country. Basic Utilities cost US$14.01 per month. However, the average salary after tax is just US$224.60, which makes Internet impossible to afford for virtually everyone but the rich.
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