New Study: Internet and Mobile Services were less affordable in 2021

Internet connectivity became less affordable worldwide in 2021, according to new data from the ITU-D and the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI).

The new study shows an increase in fixed and mobile broadband costs during the pandemic. Relative prices of fixed broadband services increased to 3.5 percent of gross national income (GNI) per capita worldwide in 2021, from 2.9 percent in 2020. The relative price of mobile broadband services worldwide increased from 1.9 percent to 2 percent of GNI per capita.

It shows that many people have sacrificed other services and goods to start connected during the pandemic, with those who can staying largely connected, even at relatively higher prices. The report shows that fewer economies worldwide meet the UN Broadband Commission’s affordable cost target of 2 percent of monthly GNI per capita for entry-level broadband.

The policy brief analyzes the prices of five baskets: mobile broadband, fixed broadband, mobile data and voice low-usage, mobile data and voice high-usage and mobile cellular low usage.  The figure below provides a simplified overview of the each of the five baskets used in the 2021 data collection.