Why Mobile Users Aren’t Willing to Pay PTA Taxes? A Case Study

Mobile users in Pakistan are getting agitated by the PTA taxes that are piling up with the passage of time. We believe that our national telecom regulator Pakistan Telecommunication Authority along with FBR is taking the wrong approach to impose such hefty taxes, especially on people who purchase phones for personal use. And guess what? It isn’t even benefitting the national exchequer and we will support our argument with a few stats and figures.

According to a reliable source, FBR collected around PKR 80 Billion in taxes during the year 2021-22. At that time, the taxes were low and the highest taxes were around PKR 45k which were certainly payable. On the other hand, the highest taxes now amount to PKR 180k on certain smartphones which is exorbitant.  But, there is a catch! Despite the imposition of such hefty taxes, FBR managed to collect only PKR 5 billion in the first 5 months of 2023. Now, you must be thinking why this decline in tax collection was reported. Well, here are some reasons that will give you a more clear picture.

Reasons for Low Tax Collection

Insane Amount of taxes:

The first and foremost reason is the insane taxes that FBR had started to impose since last year. If you want to import an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max for personal use, you have to pay around PKR 180k to register it with PTA. This iPhone already costs more than $1000 and includes GST along with other value-added taxes. So, after paying this overall price, you import it into Pakistan and then have to pay another exorbitant tax. It is certainly unfair to the end user. Simultaneously, you will have to pay the same amount of taxes on all smartphones (Samsung S23 Ultra, Pixel 7 Pro, etc.) costing $1000 or more.

If you want to know taxes on more smartphones, then you can use our PTA Tax Calculator.

Old Phones have More Taxes than their Retail Price:

Can you even imagine that a 6-year-old iPhone has more tax than its purchase price? For instance, if you want to import an iPhone 8 that was launched around six years ago, you will have to pay around PKR 70k to register it with PTA. It is shocking as the retail price of the iPhone 8 is just around $100. Simultaneously, you have to pay around PKR 100k to register an iPhone X with PTA which costs around $120-$150.

Harsh Conditions and Economic Uncertainty:

It is evident that Pakistan is going through a pretty hard time because of the debt crisis, depreciation of the rupee, meager foreign exchange reserves along with a number of other factors. The inflation rate has reached unprecedented levels. So, in these conditions, can you even think that most people would be even willing to pay such hefty taxes? Instead, they are going for alternate solutions. Some are purchasing feature phones to use their sim cards, while others are using patched phones.

If you want to know some other alternative options that allow you to bypass PTA taxes, then click here.


Recommended Solutions for PTA:

Review and revise tax rates:

FBR along with PTA should conduct a comprehensive review of the tax rates imposed on mobile phones, considering the impact on consumers and the industry. The tax rates should be revised to ensure they are reasonable and proportionate to the value and age of the devices.

  • Differentiate between personal and commercial imports:

It is our advice that FBR should exempt all taxes for those who buy or import smartphones for their personal use. In addition to it, FBR must revise this tax structure for commercial importers and make it reasonable. As we already mentioned that when the PTA tax was reasonable (around PKR 45k), more tax was collected.

Engage in dialogue and feedback:

FBR and PTA can engage in regular dialogue with mobile users and commercial importers to seek their feedback on tax-related matters. By actively involving stakeholders in the decision-making process, the regulator can gain valuable insights and identify areas for improvement.

Consider long-term economic impact:

PTA should consider the long-term economic impact of high taxes on the mobile industry and the overall digital ecosystem. Excessive taxes can discourage investment, hinder technological advancements, and limit digital inclusion. Striking a balance between tax revenue generation and industry growth is crucial.

Explore alternative revenue sources:

Instead of solely relying on taxes imposed on mobile devices, PTA can explore alternative revenue sources. This can include seeking funding from other sectors, implementing digital services taxes, or diversifying revenue streams to reduce the burden on mobile users.

Assess the impact of taxes on digital inclusion:

PTA should conduct a comprehensive assessment of how taxes on mobile devices affect digital inclusion efforts in the country. If the taxes hinder access to affordable smartphones and connectivity, it may be necessary to reconsider the tax structure to ensure equitable access to digital services.

Our Opinion Regarding Taxes on Smartphones:

As one of Pakistan’s oldest tech platforms, we opine that the minimum PTA tax on any smartphone should be around PKR 5000 while the maximum PTA tax should be around PKR 45,000. However, if someone wants to import luxury editions of phones such as Caviar’s iPhone, Mclaren Edition, etc, then FBR should impose hefty taxes as they will surely be imported by the elite faction of the society.

Final Words:

It is important for PTA and FBR to take these suggestions into consideration and work towards creating a more balanced and user-friendly tax regime for mobile users in Pakistan.

Also read: PTA Takes Action against Illegal Provisioning of Internet Services

PTA Taxes Portal

Find PTA Taxes on All Phones on a Single Page using the PhoneWorld PTA Taxes Portal

Explore NowFollow us on Google News!


  1. It is a very good article. I think FBR is the core problem in our country. Just check news paper or YouTube, you will find houses starting from 1 crore to many, contact and check their owners tax record, you will find most of them have non file and little tax payer.
    I agree your one suggestion, FBR and PTA should engage in regular dialogue with mobile users and commercial importers to seek their feedback on tax-related matters. By actively involving stakeholders in the decision-making process, the regulator can gain valuable insights and identify areas for improvement.
    Lastly, I strongly believe that most of FBR and PTA people are incompetent.

  2. Assalamualaikum. There is misperception on social media regarding MOBLE TAX that it is PTA Tax. The reality is that it is FBR tax and PTA , neither get any %age nor can reduce it , however PTA have requested the government to review / reduce the tax, for information please.

    1. True, PTA is only the provider of the system, FBR and the Govt is responsible for the tax amount.

  3. I disagree with some of your points about the maximum cap of taxes as 45k was approx $280 at that time which should be consider by today value is about 80k which is fine for $1000 phone

    For digital services if they impose tax there would be a massive stock to the economy as digital people have alot lf mean to get dollar to Pakistan. Tighten the screw on those would be a massive a great decline in tax

    1. Thank you Salman for the Feedback. We appreciate you taking time out and replying with a very solid argument

  4. One important point i think you missed is the changing of imei being done at low cost in mobile markets (for Android phones). You can get imei changed for about 2k instead of paying tax and it’s helping people avoid the ridiculous amount of tax.

  5. Your point on duties and taxes on secondhand phones are absolutely correct. These phones are purchased as they are cheap or so expensive relative brought after using them for several years to provide to their brother and sister. This should not have any tax at all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Get Alerts!

PhoneWorld Logo

Join the groups below to get the latest updates!

💼PTA Tax Updates
💬WhatsApp Channel