The government in principle has decided to waive Tk 100 in taxes on the SIM cards which would be replaced with the mobile phone operators against mobile number portability service.
The decision came following a proposal from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission on the eve of MNP service launch.
As per the existing procedure for availing the MNP service, subscribers are required to replace SIM cards of the existing mobile phone operator with the SIM cards of another operator which they would be switching to.
Under the existing taxation Tk 100 is applicable for any sort of replacement of SIM cards, irrespective of the purposes, including availing MNP service.
If the issue of SIM replacement taxes is taken into consideration, subscribers will have to pay Tk 100 as SIM replacement taxes and another Tk 50 as MNP charge along with value-added taxes, taking to around Tk 158 total cost for MNP.
As the high taxation issue surfaced, the telecom regulator raised the issue with National Board of Revenue also with other government ministries concerned through posts, telecommunications and information technology ministry.
In response, finance minister AMA Muhith in a letter to the telecom ministry agreed to the proposal of waiving SIM replacement taxes for those which would be issued for the purpose of MNP service.
Muhith in the letter, however, said that the telecom ministry would have to ensure the number of SIM cards which would be replaced on technical ground for MNP service.
A senior BTRC official said that the telecom ministry already conveyed to them finance ministry’s consent and they were now working on how the number of SIM cards to be replaced against MNP service could be made accurate.
Once the technical issue is solved, the commission would ask the finance ministry through telecom ministry for taking further measures to finalise the SIM replacement tax waiver for MNP subscribers.
The much-awaited MNP service was inaugurated by the government on October 1 this year that allows mobile phone subscribers to change mobile network operator keeping entire number unchanged.
As per the first five days’ porting data submitted by the MNP operator, Infozillion Teletech BD Consortium, to BTRC, customers of four mobile phone operators — Grameenphone, Robi Axiata, Banglalink and Teletalk — made 10,122 requests to change their operators.
Of the requests, 41.31 per cent or 4,181 customers managed to complete switching operators successfully, while 57.91 per cent or 5,862 requests were rejected on different grounds and less than one per cent or 79 requests were under process for porting.
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