When we look at infrastructure services we should also consider the context in which they are provided.
Currently I am on assignment in PNG. Telekom here in the past week has slashed mobile broadband top up prices by 50% to around A$25 per gigabyte (GB). It sounds impressive and may have a meaningful impact. However even that level it is still eyewateringly expensive compared to Australia. But stop and think about it in the context of purchasing power.
Some data I looked at recently suggested GDP per person in PNG was probably A$2,500. In Australia GDP per person is around $45,000, some eighteen times the level in PNG. Depending on the definition the actual figures can vary but consider that as a rough context for income.
If Australian’s faced the same share of GDP spent on broadband top ups as in PNG that would look iike a cost of $450 per GB. How fast a rate of uptake would you expect if Australia faced that price? Mind you it was not that long ago we were paying those prices for dial-up.
This also supports earlier analysis by the International Telecommunications Union:
“By early 2013, the price of an entry-level mobile-broadband plan represents between 1.2-2.2% of monthly GNI p.c. in developed countries and between 11.3- 24.7% in developing countries, depending on the type of service.”
Clearly further, lower prices are needed in PNG along with relative increases in GDP per person. The digital divide remains huge and the context remains relevant whether you are looking at PNG or Australia.
Image source: comparebroadband.com.au