Myanmar’s telecoms industry is the target of new taxes to be implemented by the country’s ruling military junta, with Telenor’s local unit reportedly telling customers that it will be required to increase its prices.
Local news outlet Myanmar Now quoted a statement in Global New Light of Myanmar as saying that the new taxes introduced under Union Tax Law 2021-22 would include a 15% commercial levy on fixed and mobile data service revenue, as well as a flat MMK20,000 (USD11.13) fee on SIM card sales.
The junta attempted to justify the introduction of the new taxes by somewhat nebulously claiming that they would reduce the impact that “extreme use of internet services” has on “the employment of people and mental sufferings of new generation students.”
CommsUpdate notes that these taxes are separate to a directive issued by the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) in December 2021 which saw operators increase data rates almost twofold.
Telenor noted that all operators and internet service providers in the market would likely have to increase their prices. The Norwegian group’s local unit stated that it regretted the “adverse impact on customers in terms of affordability of an essential service” that the taxes would cause, adding that Myanmar’s operators had stopped issuing new SIMs “until the changes can be reflected in respective IT systems.”