A 2017 report by GSMA Intelligence has disclosed that the total cost of mobile ownership (TCMO) for purchasing a handset and 500 MB of data per month represents on average 10 per cent of monthly income, well above the 5 per cent threshold recommended by the UN Broadband Commission.

The report, which covers 27 countries in the region where data is available, noted that high prices have the most adverse impact on those on lower incomes, who are to benefit the most from access to mobile technologies.

A further breakdown shows the cost of an equivalent basket as a share of income is 25 percent for those in the bottom 40 per cent income group, reaching as high as 68 per cent in the DRC.

It also stated that taxation represents 22 per cent of the TCMO, while sector-specific taxes represent 5 per cent of the TCMO on average. “In certain countries, the level of taxation on mobile ownership represents more than 5 per cent of monthly income, making the service unaffordable – without even considering the price of the device and service,” the report added.


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