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Daily Digest | Dispatch from Myanmar

Written by The Uptake Published on   1 min read

There’s a new tax on SIM cards in Yangon. The implications run deep.

Hey there. It’s Brady again.

I recall a time when SIM cards with data plans in Yangon went for three figures (in US dollars). The country was opening up, and members of the upper crust in the Burmese economic center were just starting to access the internet on their phones. It wasn’t long before prices dropped significantly, and everyone else was able to do the same.

Now, if the junta has its way, prices for new SIM cards will climb again, not to unaffordable levels but still demanding buyers to stretch their budgets.

There are two likely reasons. The first is to discourage people from gaining new phone numbers—and extra channels to go online. The second motivating factor is to drive a little extra revenue toward state-owned enterprises that have lost business because of nationwide boycotts.

In any case, the consequence is extra overhead that diminishes the motivation to operate internet-based businesses. If there are fewer customers, some business models just may not be able to scale properly.

Stephanie had the story. Check it out here.

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