The fee for registering a phone purchased abroad with the Ministry of Communications has gone up significantly
Azerbaijani citizens will now have to pay anywhere from AZN 30 to 150 (between USD 17 and 88), depending on the market value of the phone, to have a mobile device purchased or delivered from abroad registered with the Ministry of Communications.
Earlier, the price was AZN 5 (about USD 3).
The registration of new mobile devices is a mandatory procedure, without which phones are unable to access mobile networks. If a phone is bought in a local shop, then the vendor pays for registration. However, if a phone is shipped in from abroad, then the purchaser is responsible for registering it.
After the value of the Azerbaijan manat fell twice in 2015 and 2016, prices for many items, including technology, significantly increased. For many residents of Azerbaijan, it was cheaper to order or bring in a phone from abroad. Now it will be far more costly to do so in this fashion.
However, it is still unknown when the new rule will come into effect.
The new rule will affect only individuals, and not companies that import telephones for sale.
Economist Natiq Jafarli says that the aim of raising the price is to ‘lobby the interests of large importers’.
Head of the NGO ‘Multimedia’, Osman Gündüz, is concerned that this will ‘put the brakes on the development of electronic governance and digital society, because it will be less attractive to purchase devices that support high-speed traffic’.
The price for mobile phone registrations increased almost at the same time as that of public transport. Social media users have reacted bitterly to the two events:
“They’re doing everything right! Our people can take anything, they’ll swallow everything and won’t go on strike. Let them make the price of registering phones equal to the purchase price – people will swallow this in silence.”
“Why get fed up over the little things? Let them impose a tax on life itself.”
“In order to get more money into the treasury and maintain social justice, we have to impose taxes on luxury, and not silly taxes on services which, in theory, should be free.”
However, some have tried looking at the situation with optimism:
“There is nothing horrible about this, we don’t buy telephones everyday. The main thing is that produce and utilities don’t go up in price.”