Sri Lankans feel the bite as domestic telcos hike tariffs by 20%

6 Sep 2022

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) has approved a 20% hike in mobile, fixed voice, fixed broadband plans and VAS services, covering both pre- and post-paid customers, even though the move will up the pressure on millions of struggling Sri Lankans amid the country’s ongoing financial crisis.

‘We wish to inform our valued customers that, due to the continued escalation of operational costs resulting from the devaluation of the Sri Lankan rupee, tariff applicable on our services will be increased effective 5 September 2022,’ telco operators including SLT-Mobitel, Dialog Axiata, Hutch Lanka and Airtel Lanka announced at the weekend. Adding to people’s woes, the TRCSL also approved a 25% increase on all pay-TV services.

This is not the first time the authorities have increased charges. In June this year, the government implemented a wave of tax reforms including a rise in VAT from 8% to 12% and an increase in the Telecommunication Levy from 11.25% to 15%. In a statement at the time, the office of the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Ranil Wickremesinghe, directed the TRCSL to implement the latter, with immediate effect. The Telecommunication Levy was reduced from 15% to 11.25% effective from 1 December 2019 which the government claims ‘led to a decrease in revenue by 28% to LKR13.1 billion in 2020 from LKR18.3 billion in 2019. Hence, it is proposed to increase the Telecommunication Levy from 11.25% to 15% with immediate effect.’