Tax on SMS (Update)

As two working days have passed after budget, we couldn’t sense any action moved by cellular companies, regulator or the politicians of the country in order to revert back the imposition of 20 paisa tax on SMS.

Cellular companies are yet to take any decisive action; we were told that they are gathering on a point, however, this hasn’t happened as of now. On other side, our sources at PTA revealed that there is nothing much going on regarding the issue at regulator level too.

Other than one senator, National Assembly inhabitants, not even from opposition benches, raised any voice over the issue.

Media however played its role –  as we saw multiple features and news articles appearing in various papers across the country. But one needs to see how much they gonna impress the government, especially when cellular companies are not going to lose much.

As per couple of analysts we spoke with, they were of the opinion that cellular companies want SMS tax-free only because they play a role in customer retention, otherwise, SMS cut will work well for them, they mentioned following two reasons

  • SMS, that are not major revenue contributor, was causing huge network utilization, meaning that, more investment in increasing capacity and the maintenance.
  • one of them said that SMS revenues will go down by an average of 10 to 15 Million a year, for each operator, other than Mobilink that may see 25 million decrement a year – and in return they will save money by lesser maintenance, capacity building and important of all – no advertising.
  • Companies will get a chance for betting at other fronts, such as voice mail, PTT and other VAS that can equally generate revenues for them.

Unexpectedly, politicians are not taking this issue seriously, maybe due to many other serious issues already on the table; however, they could get huge youth support with them by resolving the scenario.

The aggression shown by khazana minister, while saying that “Why people eat less food and send more SMS”, depicts that National Assemble will approve the finance bill, as it is – however, if some efforts made by Ch. Nisaar Ali Khan, can bring different results.

Update: SMS tax has been taken back by government of Pakistan

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK