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GSMA & Facebook Aim to Reduce Tax on Mobile Phones in Developing Markets to Up Internet Access

gsma-facebook-initiative The GSMA and Facebook via its, have agreed to work together to make the mobile phones affordable in developing markets in a move to increase Internet access to all.

Aimed at connecting the billions of men and women globally without access to Internet, the joint deal focuses on reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of mobile as mobile is the enabling technology for the vast majority of people in developing markets.

“While there are nearly 7 billion mobile connections worldwide, there are only 3.4 billion people that currently have mobile phones,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “Mobile will offer many around the world, particularly in emerging markets, their only access to the Internet and the information and communications services it enables. Connecting the next billion is a major goal of the GSMA and we are pleased to be working with Facebook and to make this a reality.”

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GSMA and Facebook will work with policy makers and governments in developing markets  to address affordability and availability and incentivise mobile infrastructure investment and usage, as well as eliminate or reduce existing mobile-specific taxation or refraining from imposing new such tax regimes. The GSMA and Facebook recently issued reports elaborating on these issues.

A GSMA study dubbed “Mobile Taxes and Fees: A Toolkit of Principles and Evidence” show that the current taxation burden on mobile in 19 countries in developing markets has a negative impact on mobile phone affordability while Facebook’s report “Value of Connectivity” looks at the impact of extending Internet access to the billions of individuals that are currently unconnected.

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The will firms also address a range of other issues that will improve affordability and help to connect the world’s population to the Internet, such as: maximising the availability of harmonised spectrum to drive mobile broadband adoption; evaluating the establishment of local Internet Exchange Points (IXPs); fostering the development of local Internet content; and examining the effectiveness of Universal Service Funds.

Sam Wakoba
Sam Wakoba
Taking you on tour through Africa's tech and business ecosystem, one story at a time since 2010! Based out of Nairobi, Kenya, Sam is the founder and managing director of Moran Media, which runs, various other digital platforms and a startup incubation hub for Kenya's youthful entrepreneurs. Drop me a mail at [email protected]

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