Courtesy of the ITU’s Measuring the Information Society Report, here is a list of SMS charges in thirty-eight African countries.  The costs are listed in U.S. dollars and in Purchasing Power Parity dollars.  Interesting to note in the below that there is an order of magnitude difference between the cheapest and most expensive SMS in the listed countries.  Also interesting to note that the cheapest SMS is still more than twice as expensive as the cost of an SMS in the Philippines.

Cost of a local SMS in African Countries – 2008

Country US $ PPP $
Guinea 0.02 0.05
Mauritius 0.02 0.04
Ethiopia 0.03 0.11
Mauritania 0.03 0.07
Botswana 0.04 0.09
Tanzania 0.04 0.11
Ghana 0.04 0.07
Tunisia 0.05 0.10
Kenya 0.05 0.10
Sudan 0.05 0.08
Namibia 0.05 0.09
Senegal 0.05 0.08
Gambia 0.05 0.13
Seychelles 0.06 0.13
Egypt 0.06 0.17
Benin 0.06 0.11
Niger 0.06 0.11
Mali 0.06 0.10
Uganda 0.07 0.16
Burkina Faso 0.07 0.15
Central African Rep. 0.07 0.11
Zambia 0.08 0.10
Mozambique 0.08 0.17
Algeria 0.08 0.14
Malawi 0.09 0.28
Madagascar 0.09 0.19
Nigeria 0.09 0.14
Togo 0.09 0.18
Rwanda 0.10 0.25
Lesotho 0.10 0.21
Angola 0.10 0.15
Swaziland 0.11 0.22
South Africa 0.11 0.19
Morocco 0.11 0.17
Côte d’Ivoire 0.12 0.17
Cameroon 0.12 0.20
Comoros 0.16 0.22
Cape Verde 0.21 0.21

Thanks to @ashifi for prompting me and @katrinskaya for pointing out the SMS data buried in the back of the ITU Measuring the Information Society Report.  You can download a spreadsheet with these figures which also has local call costs which I scraped from Annex 5 of the report and massaged into spreadsheet form.


Posted by Steve Song

@stevesong local telco policy activist. social entrepreneur. founder of @villagetelco #africa #telecoms #opensource #privacy #wireless #spectrum #data

  • Steve — we have been doing a fair amount of digging as well, both from the World Bank, ITU and GSM. I have a massive SQL database to be published on the new site to be re-launched at the end of the month, but very happy to share with you prior to the launch. Much relevant data for pushing for an enabling mobile environment — shall we call it “Fair Mobile’? Looking forward to seeing you in NYC next week!

  • Oh, that’s timely Steve. I just launched the African Signals wiki dedicated to finding out and showing local rates for mobile phone and internet connections around Africa.

  • Steve Song

    Saw that. Great idea! Unfortunately the ITU data in the above is averaged and not operator specific but I will do my best to update the wiki with South African operator info this week.

  • JamesD

    Thanks for the useful info. It’s so interesting

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