Welcome!

News Feed Item

GSMA Calls for Re-Evaluation and Reduction of Mobile-Specific Taxation across Sub-Saharan Africa

The GSMA today called upon governments in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to review their approach to the increasing tax burden imposed on the mobile industry. The GSMA released two studies that explore various aspects of mobile-specific taxation in Africa and show that this burden is stifling economic growth in those countries that have introduced mobile-specific taxation. The first report, ‘Surtax on International Incoming Traffic (SIIT) in Africa’, examines the impact of SIIT in Sub-Saharan Africa and concludes that the introduction of SIIT can lead to less revenue for mobile operators and governments and higher prices for consumers. A second report, ‘Sub-Saharan Africa Universal Service Fund (USF) Study’, found that most of these funds are not succeeding in delivering their stated goal of widening access to telecommunication services and that alternative market-based solutions are more effective.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest-growing region globally, with 328 million unique mobile subscribers and an annual growth rate of 18 per cent over the last five years. However, with subscriber penetration of just 37 per cent, there is clearly still huge potential for greater growth ahead,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “Beyond further adoption of basic voice services, the region is starting to see an explosion in the uptake of mobile data. However, a short-term focus by some countries on generating revenue through increasing the SIIT, combined with the continued imposition of USF levies despite accumulated funds that are not being effectively employed, will clearly have a negative impact on the domestic mobile sector and other businesses in the region.”

Report Highlights Negative Economic Impact of SIIT in Africa

The report Surtax on International Incoming Traffic (SIIT) in Africa studies the effects of the SIIT in six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and on regional integration. The report’s findings are in line with a recent publication from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)1 that shows that imposing higher charges for the termination of international inbound traffic suppresses demand. Similar to the GSMA’s study, the OECD report concludes that those governments that impose higher termination charges do not see their revenues increase proportionately. The report outlines the impact for consumers, governments and businesses:

  • Consumers - SIIT effectively fixes prices for international traffic termination and in these countries where it is imposed, the SIIT has caused the price of terminating international incoming calls to increase by an average 97 per cent, with an increase of up to 247 per cent in Burundi;
  • Governments - SIIT has already shown its potential to create economic losses to governments that impose it. The report estimates that, in the absence of the SIIT, mobile operators could have terminated an extra 1.2 billion international minutes and generating $86 million in revenues from June 2010 to March 2014, indicating that governments could have gained an extra $27.5 million across the period had the SIIT not been introduced; and
  • Businesses - SIIT creates significant extra costs to African businesses that trade with, and therefore call, businesses in countries where the SIIT has been imposed, negatively affecting regional integration. Evidence from mobile operators indicates that nearly 40 per cent of all international incoming traffic is from countries in the region, and in some countries, such as Tanzania, over 50 per cent of calls originate within Africa.

USF Report Highlights Need For Alternative Methods to Achieve Universal Service

The Sub-Saharan Africa Universal Service Fund Study finds that USFs in the region do not appear to be the most appropriate mechanism for providing universal access and service, and to furthering social and economic improvement in a proactive, cost-effective and transparent manner. Generally, the report found significant deficiencies in fund structure, management and operation throughout the SSA region. The report concludes that consideration must be given to disbanding inactive funds and returning the remaining monies to the operators who paid the levies in the first place and, where this is not feasible, gradually reducing the levy collected for either inactive or low activity funds and gradually phasing out the funds. The study found that alternative approaches to achieving universal service, such as license obligations, are often more effective than USFs.

Both reports have identified countries within the region that have recognised the negative impact of both the SIIT and USFs on trade and regional integration. The two studies conclude that in light of these negative consequences, other governments should re-consider the SIIT and USF and assess the specific impact on their economies and on economic development for the region as a whole.

“Mobile is an important contributor to the economy of Sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for more than six per cent of the region’s GDP, more than any other comparable region globally,” continued Phillips. “As our research has shown, taxation as a proportion of the total cost of mobile ownership in the region is also higher than the global average, a factor that makes mobile services less affordable for end users. The SIIT is clearly being used as an opportunistic short-term revenue tool by some governments and, in reality, USFs have become an unnecessary levy on the telecommunications industry. We strongly feel that eliminating harmful mobile-specific taxation would benefit consumers, businesses and governments by encouraging the take-up of new mobile services, improving productivity and boosting GDP and overall tax revenues in the longer term.”

Notes to Editors

OECD (2014), "International Traffic Termination", OECD Digital Economy Papers, No. 238, OECD Publishing 10.1787/5jz2m5mnlvkc-en.

The GSMA reports can be found at: www.gsma.com/publicpolicy/tax/research-and-resources

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com. Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Channels will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The bedrock of Secure Channels Technology is a uniquely modified and enhanced process based on superencipherment. Superencipherment is the process of encrypting an already encrypted message one or more times, either using the same or a different algorithm.
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Traditional on-premises data centers have long been the domain of modern data platforms like Apache Hadoop, meaning companies who build their business on public cloud were challenged to run Big Data processing and analytics at scale. But recent advancements in Hadoop performance, security, and most importantly cloud-native integrations, are giving organizations the ability to truly gain value from all their data. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, David Tishgart, Director of Product Marketing ...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
While DevOps promises a better and tighter integration among an organization’s development and operation teams and transforms an application life cycle into a continual deployment, Chef and Azure together provides a speedy, cost-effective and highly scalable vehicle for realizing the business values of this transformation. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Yung Chou, a Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, will present a unique opportunity to witness how Chef and Azure work tog...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that China Unicom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE F...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.