Taxation and mobile phones

This week’s Economist has a fascinating report of research into the way mobile phones are taxed in developing countries. The findings are summarised in this chart.

The conclusion is obvious: there’s a strong inverse relationship between consumer take-up of the technology and the level of taxation. And it exposes a wider tragedy, because there’s no doubt that wide dissemination of mobile phones could be an important driver of innovation in countries with poor fixed communications infrastructures.