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India government understands Internet-specific taxes and Digital India are incompatible

Apparently, the eight percent tax on the gross adjusted revenues of ISPs will not be implemented. Good. TRAI had suggested a uniform licence fee of 8 per cent of the AGR (adjusted gross revenue) for all ISP and ISP-Internet Telephony licences. Government levies licence fee on AGR of telecom firms after deducting some components that […]

More on taxes

Connected to the earlier post on taxes, is this one about Vodafone India getting served a USD 600 million retroactive tax bill. While Vodafone maintains no tax is due on the 2007 acquisition, it has told the government it is willing to explore the possibility of a “mutually acceptable solution”. Vodafone further points it has […]

Do tax and levy contributions to governments by mobile telecom companies exceed their investments?

We all know the importance of investment in dynamic ICT markets. No investment: no new services, poor quality of service . . . As LTE is being rolled out and the conversation on 5G is gathering momentum,one would think the relationship between investment and taxes would be different from what is being reported as being […]

India’s biggest mobile device company finally starts to manufacture in India

That was a tough header to compose. How was it that an Indian company that had the largest share of the Indian market was importing mobile devices from China? Anyway, that has been the case so far. It’s about to change. Not necessarily true that making things in India will be cheaper. While labor may […]

How to prevent the breaking of the Internet

We just beat back a misguided attempt to break the Internet on the basis of some retrograde conception that equated the Internet with circuit switched telephony. But there is no debate that the Internet is under strain. We’ve been working with UN ESCAP, among others to address some of the problems. But the more fundamental […]

How do you tax service suppliers who are outside your territory?

This is a battle that was brewing. Mode 1 trade in services is when the supplier is in Country A, the buyer is in Country B and the transaction occurs over some means of communication, usually electronic. Given the costs of telecom these days, it really does not make sense to open warehouses/server farms in […]

Bangladesh Finance Minister withdraws mobile tax

BDnews24.com reports that The minimum tax of Tk 3,000 was endorsed by the MPs, barring those from the boycotting opposition, while the Minister withdrew his proposal to impose tax at source on mobile phone bill.

Bangladesh: Tax on mobiles pulled back?

Less than a month ago, we expressed an opinion on the Bangladesh Finance Minister’s proposal to pile on more taxes on mobile use. Obviously, we could not have been the only people who objected, but looks like it has worked. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given to pressure from exporters as she asked Finance Minister […]

Different perceptions of risk: electromagnetic radiation, second-hand smoke, diesel fumes

Given below in sober scientific language is the outcome of decades of deliberation: After a week-long meeting of international experts, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), today classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on sufficient evidence that exposure is […]

Regional lessons brought to bear on Bangladesh plan to impose more taxes on mobile

The Government of Bangladesh announced its intention to impose more taxes on mobile bills last week. My op-ed in the Daily Star drew on economic principles and regional experience. There is no debate about the government requiring money. A dynamic sector such as telecom must make its fair contribution. Collection leakages in telecom are much […]

Governments should decide: Is mobile telephony a bad or a good?

Gregory Mankiw is a gutsy economist. He defended outsourcing while still serving in the Bush administration. He is a also a good economist. He could make a living on textbooks alone. He is now advising Mitt Romney as he campaigns for the presidency. In an interesting op ed, he lays out some simple principles for […]

Skype is eating telco’s lunch

The awaited end of rapacious money making from international calls is nigh, according to Telegeography. International long distance traffic growth is slowing rapidly. According to new data from TeleGeography, international long distance traffic grew four percent in 2011, to 438 billion minutes. This growth rate was less than one-third of the industry’s long-run historical average […]

Unintended benefit from Sri Lanka budget: More reasons to get broadband

The language on ICTs in the 2012 Sri Lanka budget (paras 50-53) is pretty vague. Basically, LKR 500 million will be added to efforts to provide IT education and all government departments and agencies will have to work with the ICT Agency when they introduce IT into their systems. And, there are plans to set […]

Sachs on mobile phones, “the single most transformative technology for development”

Jeffrey Sachs is a superstar. His advice contributed to the mess in post-Communist Russia, but that did not hinder him in any way from dispensing advice elsewhere (I met him when came to Sri Lanka in 2002; after I told him what we had done or were doing on telecom, he moved on to dispense […]

Telecom sector: Not a “lemon to be squeezed”

When discussing our Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) indicator, we first introduce the concept of regulatory risk. I emphasize that it is not limited to the regulatory agency’s actions, but to all government actions that have a bearing on the operation of the company. The list of woes afflicting Vodafone in India is illuminating. “The combination […]

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