UK fifth in world for most affordable mobile data 


  • UK has the fifth most affordable mobile data in the world, ahead of Germany (13th), Italy (20th), United States (35th), Japan (41st), France (44th) and Canada (62nd).
  • On average, the UK spends £12.19, equivalent to 0.52% of a salary.
  • Singapore has the most affordable mobile data in the world, while Guinea has the least affordable data in the world.
  • The world average spend on a mobile data is £19.19, equivalent to 4.09% of an average salary.

The United Kingdom has the fifth most affordable mobile data in the world, a study from Broadband Genie has revealed.

The study compares the relationship between the cost of a mobile phone contract with 10GB+ of mobile data and the average salary in each country. In the UK, a mobile phone contract typically costs £12.19, equivalent to 0.52% of an average wage (£2,337.74).

This puts the UK on par with Hong Kong (6th), Denmark (7th) and ahead of global powerhouses of Germany (13th), Italy (20th), United States (35th), Japan (41st), France (44th) and Canada (62nd). The only countries to beat the UK are Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg and Singapore.

Worldwide, the average spend on mobile data is £19.19, 4.09% of an average salary. Singapore takes the top spot, spending only 0.35% of their salary on their data.

In the UK there are four network operators; EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. All provide 4G coverage to 99% of UK premises and 82% of landmass. 5G deployment is also rapidly accelerating in the UK, 93% of premises have access to at least one operator and total landmass coverage is increasing and is up to 38%.

The UK also benefits from a plethora of virtual network providers, such as Smarty, Tesco Mobile and Giffgaff. These providers typically don’t have their own network, rather they rent access to the infrastructure of O2 or EE. The number of providers, and thus deals, gives UK customers excellent choice. Since 2019, customers have benefited from the ‘text to switch’ process and locked handsets were banned in 2021 to give customers more freedom when finding SIM only deals.

Says Alex Tofts, broadband expert at Broadband Genie:

“It was a surprise to see the UK at the business end of the study, but it shouldn’t be. We benefit from higher salaries, but the groundwork the industry has been putting in over the last couple of years is paying off.

“If you do want a cheaper mobile deal, there is a plethora of comparison services that are free to use, and you can keep your number by requesting your PAC code. For those on Universal Credit and benefits, Voxi and Smarty both offer social tariffs for £10 and £12 a month. Both include unlimited data and can be used as an alternative to access the internet at home if you don’t have access to a fixed line connection.

“If we can get it right with mobile contracts, why can’t we do the same with our broadband industry? At the moment, we’re stuck with confusing terminology, unclear advertising and a switching process that no one understands.”

Curious to see where a particular country is placed? View the world mobile data affordability study from Broadband Genie here

Chris Price
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