Republic of Ireland is cheaper for 1GB of mobile data than the UK

5 Mar 2019

Image: © James Thew/

New global study reveals the cheapest and most expensive locations for 1GB worth of mobile data.

Ireland appears to come out cheaper than the UK for the cost of downloading 1GB of mobile data.

That’s according to a global study by of 230 countries and 6,313 data plans, which found that the cheapest location on the planet to consume 1GB of data is India where it costs just $0.26.

This is compared with Zimbabwe, which is the most expensive in the world and where 1GB of mobile data will set you back $75.20 – 289 times more expensive than India.

According to the full dataset, the UK comes in at 136th, with 1GB of mobile data costing an average of $6.66. The US is one of the most expensive developed nations for purchasing mobile data, coming in 182nd in the world, and with an average 1GB cost of $12.37.

“When looking at the UK compared to our European and EU counterparts, it’s disappointing to see the UK among the most expensive countries for mobile data,” said Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at

“Despite a healthy UK marketplace, our study has uncovered that EU nations such as Finland, Poland, Denmark, Italy, Austria and France pay a fraction of what we pay in the UK for similar data usage. It will be interesting to see how our position is affected post-Brexit.”

Gigabit economy

Ireland ranked 87th in the world with an average 1GB cost for mobile data of $3.95. Measuring 24 different mobile data plans in Ireland, the study found the cheapest 1GB of mobile data in Ireland cost $0.65 while the most expensive 1GB cost an eye-watering $22.61.

The cheapest mobile data in western Europe is in Finland, where the average price of 1GB is $1.16. Monaco ($1.21) is the second cheapest in western Europe followed by Denmark ($1.36) and Italy ($1.73). The UK ($6.66) is the 16th cheapest in western Europe.

“Many of the cheapest countries in which to buy mobile data fall roughly into one of two categories,” Howdle explained.

“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. 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 are often buying 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 its consumers,” Howdle explained.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years