A few days after the Lebanese government's proposal to impose a tax on calls made via Whatsapp and other similar applications, the Minister of Telecommunications, Mohamed Choucair, has just announced the abandonment of the project following a wave of public protests across the country. But what happened?
“The Whatsapp Tax”
Earlier this week, members of the Lebanese government discussed a plan to charge fees for calls made through the Whatsapp mobile application and other similar online communication applications. In detail, the proposal provided for a charge of USD 0.20 per day for any call made via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which would have resulted in a monthly charge of approximately USD 6 for users. This tax, known as the “Whatsapp tax”, was part of the measures to increase revenues in Lebanon’s 2020 budget.
Social networks are getting involved
A few hours after the announcement of the upcoming implementation of the “Whatsapp Tax” project by the Lebanese Minister of Telecommunications, Mohamed Choucair, on Al Jadeed TV, thousands of Lebanese took part in various demonstrations across the country, notably in Beirut, but also on social networks.
“You’ve taken enough money from us. 6 dollars, times 100,000! Enough already!”
With Lebanon being considered one of the most expensive countries in the region in terms of mobile phone rates, Lebanese people did not hesitate to express their frustrations, sometimes with a touch of humor.
خليكن دائماً متذكرين،
— Tamim F Zeidan (@zeidan_f) October 17, 2019
“Always remember, 1 missed call = I have left the house, 2 missed calls = I have arrived”
And… the government gives in
Faced with the current economic crisis affecting Lebanon’s currency and growing popular discontent, the Lebanese Minister of Telecommunications, Mohamed Choucair, finally gave in, thus allowing the entire Whatsapp Tax project not to succeed, to the delight of the population.