July 23, 2009

SIM Tax: GSMA Joins Others in Protest

Pressure on government for reducing SIM card tax is mounting day by day. Many expected SIM tax will be reduced if not waived in the recently passed Budget for 2009-2010. But nothing came from the government. Since then, Telecom operators, AMTOB, ICT specialists, industry experts, journalists as well as people from all sectors urge for SIM tax waiver. Recently, GSMA also joins that league.

The GSMA, which symbolizes the welfare of the worldwide mobile communications industry, begs the Bangladeshi Government to remove the SIM card tax. According to GSMA, the growth of the mobile industry in Bangladesh has come up to a halt due to increases in taxes across the board on mobile services.

The SIM card tax of Tk. 800 (US$11.6) per connection of each new subscriber is the single largest obstacle to the acquisition of new subscribers,
constituting a major barrier to growth and blocking new investments in updated mobile networks that provide broadband via mobile infrastructure.

Ricardo Tavares, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, GSMA commented that "The SIM card tax is counterproductive as it represents a wall that low income consumers have to climb before having a mobile phone connection. The SIM card tax increases the total cost of ownership of a mobile phone and actually reduces total tax collection by the government from the industry.”

“It is a negative proposition all round, as consumers lack access to mobile services, the government loses with lower tax collection as the number of users declines, and mobile operators have a diminishing customer base. The elimination of the SIM card tax is essential to re-establish the growth path of the mobile industry in Bangladesh and would work in a counter-cyclical way stimulating the whole economy.” he said.

Increased mobile penetration in Bangladesh in recent years has given access to not only voice communication but data access to the internet to rural areas, which were beyond reach otherwise. Today, mobile connections in the country are 46.7 million - 32% penetration but despite this significant growth, Bangladesh remains below its neighboring countries in terms of mobile and internet penetration.

The GSMA believes that Bangladesh's telecommunications taxes need to be reformed if the world's seventh most populous country is to realize its full potential, and gain the social and economic benefits that have been proven to flow from the widespread use of mobile phones.

About the GSMA: The GSMA represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry. Spanning 219 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organizations.


uk sim card said...

I am reporting you to his holiness, the Barack. For it is written, he that questions him shall be doomed to a life of higher taxes, more government intrusion and bleak prospects. Those that do not oppose him shall receive money from those that work.

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