Cost of smartphones continues the digital divide in Tanzania
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- Solutions or Strategies
- Internet Access, Affordability And Use
Trends: A nationally representative ICT Survey recently completed by Research ICT Africa (RIA) ﬁnds 43% of Tanzanian population does not own a mobile phone. The Survey also identiﬁes the cost of smartphone devices to be a major inhibiting factor on Internet take up. Voice is still king with 80% of communication expenditure in Tanzania being spent on voice/SMS services.
Solutions: An immediate policy intervention that could reduce the cost of smart phones instantly by 20% would be to remove the excise duty placed on smartphones. This will result in increased uptake and use of data services. In turn, that would make companies more proﬁtable, with an increase in company taxes quickly making up for any shortfalls from the removal of excise duties. In addition the positive social and economic multipliers associated with increased connectivity, such a move would contribute more broadly to economic growth and development.
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