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Senegalese consumers boycott mobile phones PDF Print E-mail

Adopted from balancing-act

Two Senegalese lobby groups organized a boycott of services to protest against a 2 per cent tax called RUTEL that fell directly on consumers.

Along with all the other taxes they pay (including VAT), Senegalese consumers were being asked to stump up an additional 2% across a wide range of telecommunications and Internet services. The tax is called Redevance d’utilisation des telecommunications (RUTEL) came into force on 1 February 2009.


The tax was slapped on a wide range of services like fixed and mobile services, IP-TV services, dial-up and ADSL subscriptions, recharge cards, international roaming, leased lines and interconnection charges between operators.

In reaction to this tax raise, Senegal’s two main consumer associations, l’Association des consommateurs du Sénégal (ASCOSEN) and l’Union nationale des consommateurs du Sénégal (UNCS) called for a boycott on the use of mobile phones for a day. 

The joint plan of action for a boycott was organized by sending SMS messages to consumers telling them the boycott will take place and calling on them to stop all bill payment, opening new subscriptions, buying credit from 8am to 3pm and stop using their mobile from 1pm to 3pm.

Elsewhere in Africa, there were two consumer boycotts of mobile phones in Nigeria. The first in 2003 caused a significant dent in operators’ revenues but the second several years later had much less of an impact. There was talk of a similar boycott in South Africa but it never seemed to get off the ground.

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