The Hungarian parliament last Friday approved a new controversial tax on mobile communications in the country, to the concern of local operators which feel the industry is already labouring under the burden of the government’s so-called ‘crisis taxes’. The move had been expected however, and from 1 July 2012 a HUF2 (USD0.08) tax will be applied to every call minute and every SMS, with a monthly cap set at HUF700 for individuals and HUF2,500 for business users. Emergency call numbers and those for charities are exempt from the new tax, though. Budapest hopes to raise up to HUF44 billion per annum through the initiative as it looks to plug a hole in its budget deficit, but the move has been widely condemned by Hungary’s leading operators. CommsUpdate reported last week that the three biggest telcos – Magyar Telekom (T-Mobile), Telenor and Vodafone – reiterated their fears that that the new tax would not serve Hungary’s interests while it puts an ‘unfair burden’ on the telecommunications industry. They had proposed an amendment to the government’s planned new tax, suggesting that the government bill should include a cap on the planned monthly tax, limiting it to HUF400 for individuals and HUF1,400 for businesses.
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