Mobile and Internet packages: a new tax in sight?

The Government would like to introduce an increase of €0.75 on all Internet and mobile plans, regardless of the operator. A tax supposed to help reduce the digital divide in France, but which could well have the opposite effect…

It’s not just the price of smartphones that are skyrocketing: mobile phone and Internet access plans are also affected! For several months, users have had the unpleasant surprise of seeing the prices of their subscriptions increase, and this without them always being warned – they generally discover it once the bill is in front of them. Regular price increases justified by the investments of the operators for the deployment of the optical fiber and 5G, as well as inflation resulting from the war in Ukraine. And it’s not about to get better. Thus, the Government should soon require all operators to increase the price of their Internet and mobile subscriptions. A somewhat surprising decision that could slow down the digital transition instead of giving it a boost…

Mobile and Internet plan: the price of subscriptions soar during inflation

After a forced passage following the use of Article 49.3 of the Constitution by Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, the new Finance Bill (PFL) for 2023 has passed through the hands of the Senate. And he took the opportunity to discreetly add a small article, as Baptiste Hugot noticed on Twitter. The Senate therefore provides, in article 5 bis I of the bill, for an increase of €0.75 excluding tax per month on all Internet and mobile packages from all operators – Orange, Bouygues Telecom, SFR, Free and others – as a digital solidarity contribution. The only exceptions are landline services and prepaid SIM cards. For all other offers, however, the increase will be mandatory, for each subscription. Specifically, as explained alloforfait, a household with an Internet subscription and two mobile plans will pay €2.25 more per month, even if they are all under the same name. It is only a few cents in appearance, but, multiplied, they can very quickly increase the bill, especially in this context of generalized inflation. The National Assembly is currently considering The law project.

It is very unlikely that the operators will refuse to impose this price increase on their customers, given that they would then have to pay the contribution out of their pockets – they have been doing so for several months. Patrick Chaize, Senator LR, justifies this measure by the need to support “work to be carried out in order to develop digital technology” by contributing to the digital territorial development fund (FANT) intended to fight against the digital divide. Senator Thierry Cozic specifies that this tax will allow “initially to finance the generalized service by fiber then, in a second phase, will contribute to the financing of the maintenance of the networks”. But the fact of exempting PSTN access – the Switched Telephone Network, which provides Internet telephone and TV – from this tax brings an additional brake on the transition – made necessary by the gradual closure of the copper network – with fiber optics, which is a more modern, faster and more powerful technology – it is not sensitive to the vagaries of the weather or humidity, and it consumes less energy. Especially since, as reported The world, the average price of a mobile subscription jumped 19.6% in one year. In the fixed line, on the other hand, the rise is less brutal with “only” 6.1%.

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Mobile and Internet packages: a new tax in sight?

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