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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 […]

UK drops expensive universal service plans

We expressed skepticism when the Labor Party first announced it. We are pleased it is being cancelled. The previous Labour government hummed and hawed about this rural-urban “digital divide”. Eventually, in 2009, it proposed levying a 50p tax on every fixed telephone line in the country: the proceeds were to be given to BT to […]

On the benefits of services trade

Services trade, especially mode 1 services trade where the buyer remains in the buyer’s country and the seller remains in the seller’s country, is critical to the development of emerging economies. India has been one of the greatest beneficiaries of liberalized trade, but the NYT article below shows that the US is also a clear […]

Pakistan Telecom Authority shows futility of raising mobile taxes

The Pakistan Telecom Authority in their December 2008 quarterly review gives the reasoning behind the government’s decision to impose high taxes on mobile phone use. To reduce the high fiscal deficits, the government had increased taxes. The increase for the telecom sector was over 40 percent; for other sectors it was only seven percent. However, […]

Sri Lanka: A bad tax made technology neutral, finally

It is reported that the one million or so customers of Sri Lanka Telecom who have wireline connections can now look forward to paying the same amount in taxes as the ten million or so customers (mobile and fixed) who connect wirelessly (across GSM and CDMA platforms). We have opposed telecom specific taxes; but even […]

Bangladesh government’s effort to slow down mobile growth finally likely to bear results

In its 2005-06 budget (Khaleda Zia) the Bangladesh government imposed a regressive Taka 900 tax on each SIM that was issued.   We describe the tax as regressive because, if it was passed on to customers, it would hurt the low-user segment (generally the poorer segment) of the market more, because it’s a fixed tax that […]

Poor economy and taxes begin to bite in Sri Lanka

Hutch, a pure BOP play that was making very good profits, has reported declining profits and revenue growth.  One quarter does not a trend make.  But seen together with Dialog’s bad results for the last quarter, it suggests things are not looking good for the telecom sector which is taking multiple hits with tripled spectrum […]

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