Hungary's mobile operators Monday slammed a government bill to tax operators on voice traffic, deeming it a direct successor to sectoral levies the government agreed to phase out from 2013.
As part of a fiscal overhaul program, the government has proposed several taxes, including the voice-traffic levy, in a bid to hit budget deficit goals of 2.5% of gross domestic product in 2012 and 2.2% of GDP in 2013. The government hopes the new taxes will generate 30 billion forints ($133.6 million) this year and HUF52 billion next year.
The planned voice-traffic tax is HUF2 a minute with monthly upper limits set at for HUF700 household consumers and HUF2,500 for corporate customers.
The government had said during sectoral negotiations that the tax would be imposed on consumers, whereas the cabinet's bill aims the tax at service providers, Magyar Telekom Nyrt. (MTELEKOM.BU), Telenor Hungary Zrt. and Vodafone Hungary Zrt. said in a joint statement.
The companies said the new levy doubles the tax load on service providers, referring to a sectoral crisis tax that has weighed heavily on profitability since 2010.
Magyar Telekom is owned by Deutsche Telekom AG (>> Deutsche Telekom AG), while the other two are subsidiaries of Telenor ASA (TEL.OS) and Vodafone Group PLC (>> Vodafone Group plc).
-By Marton Eder, Dow Jones Newswires; +3630-905-4679; email@example.com