Report: Nigeria has the least affordable Internet in the world

by | Feb 25, 2021

Nigeria might be reportedly experiencing increasing broadband penetration but, according to a new report, it has the least affordable Internet in the world.

Surfshark’s Digital Quality of Life report 2020 ranks Nigeria 85th out of 85 countries indexed in the report. The Virtual Private Network firm curated the amount of time people need to work to afford the cheapest mobile and data plans available in the country.

It is important to note that Surfshark divided the price of 1GB of data by the average hourly income in the countries studied. Find out more about Surfshark’s methodology.

Of the six African countries studied in the report, South Africa ranks highest (34th) followed by Tunisia (64th), Algeria (66th), Morocco, (71st), and Kenya (74th) while Nigeria finishes the entire list at 85th.


According to Surfshark, it would take Nigerians 27 minutes 55 seconds to afford 1GB of mobile data compared to a global average of 10 minutes.

It would take Nigerians 33 hours 42 minutes of work to afford the cheapest broadband plan, compared to a global average of 48 minutes.

Despite a global average work time of 10 minutes for mobile data and 48 minutes for broadband, there’s a wide disparity between countries with the most affordable and least affordable Internet.

Over 63 countries (75%) have to work more than the global average to be able to afford the Internet.

“In Israel, it is 17 seconds; in Azerbaijan 19 seconds; in Poland, 24 seconds, and in Greece, it is 43 minutes; in Panama, it is 44 minutes; and in Honduras, 1 hour and 3 minutes,” the report states.

While Nigerians need to work well over 33 hours to afford broadband, it takes just 7 minutes in Canada and up to 52 minutes in the US.

Conflicting Reports?

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Photo Credit: melita_dennett Flickr via Compfight cc

Interestingly, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Inclusive Internet Index ranks Nigeria 25th out of 100 countries for the most affordable Internet. It ranks Nigeria top in Africa ahead of South Africa, Ghana, Botswana, and Cameroon that make up the top five.

The EIU’s methodology uses the cost of data compared to a country’s average monthly income, slightly different from Surfshark’s use of average hourly wage.


As pointed we pointed out previously, the use of average monthly income might not paint an accurate picture of Nigeria’s economic situation since people, more often than not, live on or below minimum wage in Nigeria.

In 2020, Research ICT Africa (RIA) also maintained that mobile data fell by 75% between 2014 and 2019, making Nigeria one of the countries with the most affordable Internet.

Surfshark’s finding seems jarring

We’ve previously looked at Nigeria’s economic situation, rising inflation, and the plummeting value of the naira suggest that the cost of the Internet in Nigeria has been subtly increasing.

However, Surfshark states that richer countries do not always have more affordable broadband.

“In Sweden, for example, people have to work for 1 hour and 46 minutes; in Denmark, 1 hour and 51 minutes; and Norway, 1 hour and 53 minutes.” Surfshark maintains.

The EIU and Surfshark agree on the state of Internet availability and quality in Nigeria. The EIU ranks Nigeria 10th in Africa and 81st out of 100 countries in the world for quality Internet, while Surfshark ranks the West African giant 81st out of 85.

According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the country’s broadband subscribers increased to 85.9 million in 2020 placing broadband penetration at 45.09%. Industry stakeholders have long questioned these numbers, and various reports, like we just mentioned, do not paint a kind picture.

Despite various government initiatives and a National Broadband plan, there’s much work to be done before Nigeria experiences quality and affordable Internet. 

Emmanuel Paul
Emmanuel Paul

Writer and narrator of technology, business and policies in Africa . Looking to chat? Catch up with me (@eruskkii) on Twitter or send a mail to

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