Global Ranking Puts Kazakhstan in Top 10 For Least Expensive Internet

NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan ranked fifth in terms of mobile data cost in the United Kingdom’s Internet Accessibility Index 2021 published by Broadband Choices service. 

The price for 1 gigabyte of mobile data is estimated at $0.9 with mobile internet coverage reaching 100 percent of the country’s 18 million. 

The ranking analyses the quality, availability and cost of internet access in 169 countries. Source of data: Internet Accessibility Index

India, Israel, and Russia have the least expensive internet, according to the ranking.  

“The majority of the countries with the cheapest mobile data pricing such as India, Israel, and Denmark have good fibre optic networks, helping to keep service costs low. In fact, Kazakhstan has one of the most advanced telecom sectors in Central Asia,” said the report.

The top ten list

Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan, Denmark, Poland, Vietnam, and Ukraine are also in the top ten. 

At the same time, nationals of Bermuda, Equatorial Guinea, and Trinidad and Tobago pay the most for mobile data services – $30.9, $23.5, and $18.2, respectively. 

“Half of the countries with the highest mobile data costs are island nations – or in the case of Greece, consist of a number of islands. Island nations or countries with particularly rugged terrain are more likely to use expensive satellite solutions rather than fibre-optic networks, the cost of which is often passed on to the customer,” said the report. 

Denmark, Liechtenstein, and the United States have the most accessible internet worldwide out of 169 countries analysed in the report. In this, Kazakhstan ranked 43rd and 82 percent of the country’s population have access to the internet. Internet pricing is also among the cheapest standing at $11.5. 

Overall, the index analysed 169 countries using 10 different factors, including average internet speeds, the cost and affordability of home broadband packages, and the cost of 1 gigabyte of mobile data. The data was gathered between November and December 2020. 

Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2020

In another ranking – Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2020 – published by Cable.co.uk, the average cost of 1 gigabyte of mobile data in Kazakhstan was estimated at $0.46, which put the country sixth out of 228 countries in the ranking. 

“Many of the cheapest countries in which to buy mobile data fall roughly into one of two categories. 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,” explained Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk. 

Along with Kazakhstan, the third, sixth and ninth cheapest countries are all former Soviet nations, with Kyrgyzstan in third place, followed by Ukraine, and Russia, respectively.

Growing demand for internet services in Kazakhstan

In 2020, demand for internet services in Kazakhstan increased significantly, as the internet became most used channel for communication. The country’s operators reported internet traffic growth in 2020 from 34 percent (Tele2) to 63 percent (Beeline). 

The number of mobile subscribers with access to the internet is also growing in Kazakhstan with a population of over 18 million. Data taken from ranking.kz, National Statistics Committee.

Commenting on the Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing report, Kazakhstan’s ranking.kz analytical website said that in general, “internet access costs are directly proportional to countries’ areas.”

“That is, the greater the geographical area of the country, the more expensive it is to cover the entire territory, and, accordingly, the higher the cost of the internet for users should be. It is different in our country, where, with such a huge area, the investments are quite significant, but the final price for users is low,” wrote the website. 

In 2020, Kazakhstan has made large strides towards covering its rural areas with mobile broadband. 

“As of the end of 2020, 5,322 of the nearly 6,500 rural settlements were covered with the Internet. Fibre optic cables were connected to 1,257 settlements and to key local organisations, such as akimats (city halls), schools, and hospitals. (…) The second big project was to provide Internet access to 928 settlements with a population of more than 250 people. The project lasted only one year. Overall, these two projects yielded an impressive result – 20,000 kilometres of optics were laid in the country to rural settlements and 99 percent of the population can use mobile broadband Internet services,” Vice Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry Askhat Orazbek told primeminister.kz.

This year, Kazakhstan also plans to launch 5G in a pilot mode. It is expected to be launched in Almaty, Nur-Sultan and Shymkent by the end of 2022 and all other regions by the end of 2025. 

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