Zimbabwe has 3rd most expensive fixed internet in the world says UK report, but is it?

Leonard Sengere Avatar

Cable.co.uk has been analysing data packages from around the world for 6 years now and publishing the results for all to see. Over the years we have seen Zimbabwe rank as having the most expensive mobile internet in the world, although that was misleading.

Cable has now released a report on fixed internet prices across the world. Cable analysed ADSL and fibre packages from 219 countries and it comes as no surprise that Zimbabwe comes up as one of the most expensive places in the country. It was only recently that we were complaining about the same.

That said, perusing the data that Cable has on Zimbabwe, you can clearly see that they did not quite capture what’s on the ground. Yes, internet access is expensive in the country but the cheapest broadband package in the country does not cost $128 as Cable says. We shall get into this later.

In Zimbabwe, when we talk about fixed internet, the major players are Liquid, TelOne, Powertel, Telco and Dandemutande. Cable analysed 6 USD packages from these providers and factored in both unlimited and capped packages. This is what came out:

The average cost of broadband

The average cost of broadband in Zimbabwe in 2023 is US$201. Only two countries out of 219 have a higher average cost, Suriname at $269.44 and Burundi at $383.79.

This $201 is the median average of the 6 packages in the country that they analysed. What packages were they looking at to come to that figure?

It appears they only analysed 6 of the most expensive packages in the country. The average broadband package is not $201. A median of $201? There aren’t that many packages more expensive than that and so we can safely say that’s wrong.

We have so many capped packages in this country, most of them costing less than $100 for the above to be true.

The cheapest broadband package

Zimbabwe’s cheapest broadband package is $128 according to Cable which means only one country has a more expensive entry package.

That’s not the case. We can see how analysing only 6 packages in the country may have led Cable to conclude wrong.

Seeing as Cable supposedly included capped packages, it is misleading to say $128 is the cheapest package in the country.

For example, TelOne has a $10 for 10GB package which should be at up to 2Mbps. Liquid’s 10GB package costs about the same as well and promises up to 10Mbps.

Both these companies have many other packages that cost less than $100.

Checking Liquid’s website reveals that their cheapest unlimited package costs $165 (149,855/970) whilst TelOne’s costs $163 and both offer up to 20Mbps.

The most expensive package

Out of 219 countries, Zimbabwe is number 195 according to Cable. Meaning only 24 countries have a more expensive top-tier package.

Apparently, the most expensive package in the country costs $298.

Checking Liquid’s packages reveals their most expensive residential unlimited package costs $300 (291,66/970) at 50Mbps, which is probably the $298 Cable found. Telone’s Intense Extra costs $306 at 50Mbps.

Average cost of 1Mbps per month

Zimbabwe ranks 205 out of 219. Meaning only 14 countries are more expensive. Cable works the average cost of 1Mbps in Zimbabwe at $12.57.

This too does not sound right. Look at the TelOne and Liquid packages we mentioned above and you can see that Cable’s data was rendered misleading by only looking at 6 packages in the country.

We can ignore this report for the most part

We are all too familiar with what’s on the ground in Zimbabwe and can see just how off Cable is on our country. That makes it hard to trust that they are spot on when it comes to other countries.

In 92 of 219 countries, Cable analysed less than 10 packages. They say the low number is also an indication that there are limited options in those countries. That may be but in Zimbabwe’s case at least, Cable did not pick the packages to analyse well. That could be the case in some countries too.

We can learn something from the report but we can’t take it as gospel truth.

We can’t even say Zimbabwe should rank better because we can’t be sure that other countries’ average prices weren’t also incorrectly analysed as higher than they actually are.

To quench your curiosity, the cheapest average broadband package can be found in Sudan of all places at only $2.30. The average cost of 1Mbps per month in that country sits at $0.80, compared to our $12.57.

When looking at regions, Northern America has the most expensive average prices out of 13, and Sub-Saharan ranks 4th.

You can peruse the data yourself at this link. You can download the full report there as well.

Do let us know what you think about all this in the comments section below. Are you using fixed internet and are you paying $201 for that service?

Also read:

Is it me or does the report that we’re getting 11Mbps from Econet, NetOne, and Telecel sound wrong?

Why is internet so expensive in Zimbabwe?

Liquid Intelligent Technologies selects Nokia for a 12Tbps fiber backbone link spanning 7 African countries

16 comments

What’s your take?

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  1. XCLR8

    Man I hate these guys, they out there making this country seem bad than it really is..and how the hell does Sudan even have internet… wasn’t that country up in smoke a while ago…

    1. Leonard Sengere

      The Sudan stat doesn’t sound right. Maybe most of what we think when we hear Sudan actually is about South Sudan, which is its own country now.

  2. Zim Internet is insanely expensive

    No true, we are Number 1 with a large margin, check out our dedicated prices, they are 300 USD per 1Mbps

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Zim internet is expensive but not as expensive as this report makes it out to be. Where are you getting these prices you are talking about?

    2. Leonard Sengere

      Dedicated speed prices are ridiculously expensive, I’ll grant you that.

  3. David Mj

    Zimbabweans are being exploited especially by Liquid Technologies.

    Officially, a 20Mbps uncapped internet (fiber) subscription with Liquid Home Zimbabwe costs ZWL149,855 which at the Interbank rate of 970 is equivalent to US$165/month or (R2,991/month)

    Compare this to South Africa, the same package averages R500/month making Liquid Home’s rates almost 6x higher.

    TelOne rate is US$90 for the same 20mbps uncapped package.

    I have written to Liquid Home to complain about this, although they acknowledge the high price differential, they are only too happy to maintain the status quo and rip us off.

    I can not switch to a competing ISP because only Liquid Home has a fiber network in my area.

    Simply put, I am stuck with Liquid Home until Starlink joins the market.

    Something needs to be done.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Unfortunately, for many of us, the choice on which ISP to go with is made for us. Liquid invested in their network and in Harare at least, they are the only fibre choice in many areas. Could explain why it sometimes feels like they are taking us for a ride.

      I feel you on the price of our cheapest uncapped packages. It’s just too high. And there still isn’t an uncapped mobile broadband plan to date. Imajeni.

  4. L. Makombe

    Wrong analysis and assumptions. Did Techzim contact any of service for confirmation.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      What assumptions are wrong? Please be specific so we can talk about it. And yes, we did our research on the current prevailing prices.

  5. Ruf

    Let’s be real a 10gb package for home usage is untenable
    We should be be looking at the 100gb to 200gb per month
    I think telone 90usd unlimited would be a fair assessment
    Where does the 100usd range fall on the list that’s our real postion. Still way expensive for most households.lets have a follow-up article as well.previously our data consumption had gone up.i suggested that it was due to really cheap below market prices.now that the prices have gone up has internet usage dropped.it would be interesting

    1. Leonard Sengere

      I agree that 10GB is too little for a family. However, the report is not looking at what’s tenable for a family. It’s claiming to have answers on what fixed internet costs around the world, inclusive of 10GB packages. On that front it really is inaccurate when it comes to Zimbabwe.

      They also make it clear that their report is not an affordability one as well. It’s just saying this is what it costs, not looking at that cost in relation to average incomes.

      I like your idea of revisiting internet usage now that prices have gone up. Will do that. Should be interesting.

  6. Anonymous

    I totally believe that report.
    I will take Telone as they are less expensive. USD25 for 55 gigs / night 27.5 gigs. Unacceptable, it’s like all providers are throttling all of us and making huge profits. The download speeds are also ridiculously low, which are provided. Just shows no progress for 2023, we are still stuck in the early 2000 with our Internet providers. Where countries get cheaper and provide more data and faster speeds, we are the total opposite.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      We can agree that internet access is unaffordable for most of us but that report is painting a fictional picture. You have just highlighted a $25 package from Telone that was not captured by the Cable report. That’s all we are saying, let’s capture what’s on the ground. It’s unaffordable as is without exaggerating.

  7. The Empress

    Seriously how could they get such a simple thing wrong!
    – These are Internet prices advertised openly on the various companies websites!
    – Adverts are in English so we can’t blame this on translation failures
    – And to make matters worse. In Zimbabwe’s case most if not all of the companies websites show the USD price as well as local currency prices so we can’t blame this on different exchange rates.
    There are not that many companies selling ADSL or fibre Internet in the whole country!
    These guys are trying to be the authorative company that produces figures about the cost of Internet services worldwide but they make such basic and stupid mistakes.
    Nonsense like this is what results in people claiming that there’s hidden agenda’s!
    These mistakes might be all just due to pure incompetence…..But we can’t be sure

    1. Leonard Sengere

      It is baffling, right? Gives credence to the notion that there is an agenda.

      There are only a few operators in Zimbabwe and for all their faults, their websites have the packages on offer clearly laid out. How Cable missed that is beyond me. It’s all in English and many also quote USD prices. It should have been easy for Cable. The Zimbabwe bit of the report could have taken mere minutes to research. Apparently, they couldn’t spare that much time.

  8. Nyasha

    Did the report like. That might not be the issue. The bottom line is internet is expensive in Zimbabwe in Rwanda liquid charges $25/month unlimited at 60mbs free connection and free modem