Everyone I have asked “How much do you spend on reloading your phone each month?” has NOT been able to give me an answer to that. Why is that?
The telecommunication revolution of the mobile phone, reloading and sim cards has permitted ALL the people access to talking relatively cheaply with their friends acquaintances, and family. The pre-paid card used by 95% of mobile phone users, has further encouraged this activity as they are freely available at any kiosk or small kade. Today, there are more phones and sim cards than people who live in this Country.
So if I told the man in the street, that for every rupee they spend on their phone call, 54cents goes to the Govt. they will either NOT believe me, or invariably be unable to prove or disprove, as they don’t get a bill at the end of the month to be paid, which will hopefully show that analysis of calls, and the taxes paid thereon, and come to the reality that they pay a tax averaging Rs1,000 pm.
This is a highly insidious, but an extremely high yield (in excess of Rs50Billion in taxes to the Govt. per annum) revenue source to the state, funded exclusively by the MASSES who are mostly living hand to mouth.
Of course you will say that they don’t have to use the phone, so then they will not pay the tax, it is almost like telling them don’t use electricity either! It is simply a way of life in 2016 and the broadband, smart phone, internet and data packages are also part and parcel of this same necessity that is NOT an option!
I would hazard a guess and say that most young people today, spend more on their phone than on their food and clothing in a month, and they choose to do so as they believe their life is curtailed somewhat if they are unable to be in mobile contact, at least by way of sms with their nearest and dearest!
What therefore is the most discretionary part of the phone usage, that may have to be cut to reduce the call time and therefore cost? The Sinhala idiom of “Mal Kadanawa” being the word used when someone is enjoying a conversation with a close friend, usually with romantic connotations, which gives the two in the conversation an air of passing the time of day on the phone with someone they love!
That to me is something that is the most discretionary, and if one is forced to cut down on phone usage that is what gives.