Budget FY25: Cost of mobile calls, internet to go up

AFP file photo

The cost of mobile phone calls and internet services is set to rise as the government has increased supplementary duty in the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2024-25. 

An additional 5 per cent of supplementary duty has been imposed on these services, which takes the total duty to 20 per cent.

Finance minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali made the disclosure while announcing the proposed national budget in the parliament on Thursday.

Currently, users have to recharge with Tk 133.25 to get Tk 100 worth of talktime. With the recent hike, the cost will rise to Tk 139 for the same amount of talktime.

In simpler terms, if one recharges with Tk 100, some Tk 28 will be deducted as tax. The user will get talk time worth the remaining amount.

At the same time, the cost of purchasing new SIM cards has also increased as the value added tax (VAT) has been hiked from Tk 200 to Tk 300 in the proposed budget. 

The imposition of supplementary duties on mobile phone calls began in the fiscal year 2015-16, with a 3 per cent duty. In phases, it rose to 15 per cent before the current hike to 20 per cent.

However, insiders expressed concern that the increase in supplementary duty on mobile calls and internet will take a toll on consumers. Particularly, there has been a decline in the number of internet users on mobile phones for several quarters, and the duty hike would fuel the negative trend. 

They also warned that an overall duty increase would not help boost revenue collection as it would reduce the spending. 

According to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, as of last April, the number of mobile phone subscribers stood at 193.7 million, including multiple handsets by single users.

The number of mobile phones using the internet in the country is nearly 125.1 million.