Data

The Most Expensive Country For Mobile Data Is Hungary

In September 2016 as many as 29 operators sold unlimited 4G mobile data in 11 European Union and 3 non-EU OECD countries. But not in Hungary.

But it gets worse. There are simply no data packages in Hungary that offer any visible amount of data under 30 euros per month. Because, you know, Hungarians can afford it. 

When in London in 2007, one of the first things that struck me as odd was the number of people talking on their mobile phones endlessly. Then I realized that thousands of minutes and gigabytes of data was included in their monthly plans. You could just buy a top-up SIM card and get as many minutes, texts, as well as decent amount of data, as you could use.

In 2014 in Germany, I could easily buy a pay-as-you-go plan with 5 gigs of data for as little as 15 euros a month.

In 2017 in Hungary, the clerk enthusiastically tried to sell me a similar plan, their “best”, and bragged that it even gives 100 minutes or texts per month for free (within network, conditions apply).

The ridiculousness of services and their pricing in Eastern Europe is always striking. Small (and often overregulated) markets have little attraction for operators and thus attract few competitors. 3-4 big telcos dominate the market and keep prices at a convenient level (for themselves) – and their captive customers must take it or leave it. The amount of 4G gigabytes bought on a 30 euro price plan in Hungary is zero for this very reason.

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