Following the increase in fuel and electricity prices, speculation has arisen on whether the telecommunication sector will soon follow suit, with contradictory statements from government officials.
A source at the Ministry of the Finance confirmed Monday that a rise in the prices of telecommunications is to be expected following enforcement of a new sales tax. The anonymous official, however, did not define the rate of the new tax.
A different source at the ministry denied that enforcement of a new sales tax all together, saying that all taxes have already been announced.
“The increase in the telecommunications’ sales tax was to be enforced during the term of former president Mohamed Morsi,” the official said, “Morsi later annulled this tax but the annulment was verbal.”
“Leaving the status of the new tax hanging was not an option anymore,” the official said.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi cancelled the hindering taxes and applied only the taxes on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, the government official noted.
Several mobile disturbers informed kiosks and supermarket owners that prices of mobile recharge cards will increase during the coming period.
“My distributor said that the prices of the EGP 100 recharging card would increase to EGP 112[a 12% price increase],” one of the kiosk owners in Dokki said.
“If I take the card with EGP 112, I will probably sell it for EGP 115,” the owner added.
Increasing the prices requires several forms of approval, licences and will not be accomplished within a couple of days, head of media relations at Vodafone Lamiaa Atef said.
“The possibility of a price increase is still under study, so for the time being we’re keeping the same prices until further notice,” Atef said.
The company, however, will not be forced to take any steps against distributers if they decided to increase the prices.
Last week, both Mobinil and Vodafone denied a 10% rise in calling fees, a concern that was raised after the prices of energy increased.
Operators in Egypt’s mobile telephone market have been facing challenges in the face of decelerated subscriber growth in 2013, according to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.
Prices for fuel and electricity both increased following Al-Sisi’s inauguration.