Mobile data traffic surged in 2021, the global average price per gigabyte is $4.07

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67% of the world’s population, some 5.3 billion people, owned a mobile phone in July, according to data by Stock Apps. Compared to July of last year, this means 117 million new users.

Of course, this is not evenly distributed around the globe – for example, Europe was the leading region last year with 86% of its population having a mobile phone. However, the market is essentially saturated as the forecast for 2025 is 87%, so barely any growth is expected in the next few years.

North America is very close, just a few percentage points behind. China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan combined are at basically the same level too with 83% of the population owning a phone. The market with the smallest share of mobile phone ownership is sub-Saharan Africa, where less than half of the people have a mobile phone.

Mind you, 5.3 billion is just the number of people who own at least one phone, some of them have additional devices connected to a cell network. 79% of all mobile connections are smartphones (6.4 billion of them) and they account for 73% of the total traffic. Other connected devices like tablets, laptops and routers have a tiny 3.8% market share (310 million devices).

The pandemic caused a massive 68% surge in mobile traffic year over year, which hit 66 exabytes in Q1 of 2021 (that’s 66 million terabytes). Android devices accounted for 73% of that traffic, iOS devices 26.3%.

The global average for 1 GB of mobile data is $4.07. Greeks pay the most, double the average or $8.16. Users in the UAE and New Zealand don’t fare much better with $7.62 and $6.99 per gigabyte, respectively. Israel has by far the cheapest data with 1 GB costing just $0.05. It is followed by Italy ($0.27) and Russia ($0.29). Users in the US and the UK pay $3.33 and $1.42 per gig on average.

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