This brief report examines the policy dynamics that define the quality of mobile broadband service experienced by users across low- and middle-income countries, and forms part of our ongoing efforts to translate internet access into meaningful access for everyone.
The report provides the first set of publicly available data around upload and download speeds from across 54 low- and middle-income countries, and finds:
- Significant disparities between broadband speeds in the Global North and Global South. For example, the median download speed for a user in Africa is less than a seventh of that for a user in Western Europe.
- Quality of service levels are correlated with performance on the A4AI Affordability Driver’s Index, suggesting that policy and regulatory changes to lower the cost of broadband will also improve service quality.
- Countries that require mobile number portability have faster download speeds, faster upload speeds, more affordable broadband prices, more competitive mobile markets, and better scores on the A4AI Affordability Drivers Index.
The report also features case studies from Bangladesh, Colombia, Mozambique and Peru, each of which reaffirms the need for a cooperative, multi-stakeholder approach to improve quality of service.