a new tax on the horizon?

The government wants to introduce an increase of €0.75 on all internet and mobile plans, regardless of operator. A tax that is supposed to help reduce the digital divide in France, but may 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 their subscription prices rising, and not always without warning – they generally find out after the bill comes up. Regular price increases justified by the investments of the operators for the establishment of Fiber Optic and 5G, as well as inflation resulting from the war in Ukraine. And it won’t get better. Thus, the Government should soon ask 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 increases 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 into the hands of the Senate. And he took the opportunity to discreetly add a small item, as Baptiste Hugot noted on Twitter. Therefore, the Senate foresees, in Article 5 bis I of the draft law, an increase of €0.75 tax-free per month for 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, per subscription. Specifically, as explained allophorfait, a household with one internet subscription and two mobile plans will pay €2.25 more per month, even if they are all under the same name. It seems like just a few cents, but multiplied can add up to a bill very quickly, especially in this context of rampant inflation. The National Assembly is currently deliberating Draft law.

It is unlikely that the operators will refuse to pass on this price increase to their customers, since they will then have to pay the contribution out of their own pockets – they have been doing this for several months. Patrick Chaize, Senator LR, justifies this measure with the need to support “work to be done to develop digital technology” contributing to the digital development fund of the territory (FANT) which aims to fight the digital divide. Senator Thierry Cozic specifies that this tax will allow “Initially to finance the generalized fiber service, then in a second phase it will contribute to the financing of the maintenance of the networks”. But the fact of excluding PSTN access – the Switched Telephone Network, which provides internet phone and TV – from this tax brings an additional brake on the transition – needed by the gradual closing of the copper network – to fiber optics, which is more. modern technology, faster and more powerful – it is not sensitive to changes in weather or humidity and consumes less energy. Especially since, as reported world, the average price of a mobile subscription increased by 19.6% in one year. On the fixed line, on the other hand, the increase is less brutal with “only” 6.1%.

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