Duvar English 

The average annual telecommunication costs for a family of four in Turkey, which includes having a landline phone, broadband internet and a cellphone for each member, has reached the 3225 TL ($537) mark, according to a recent report from the Turkish Competitive Telco Operators Association (TELKODER). 

655 TL ($109) of this figure came from taxes, according to the report, which indicated a steep increase from 2018, where the average family of four’s community expenditures amounted to 2878 TL ($479), 584 ($97) of which was gleaned from taxes. 

These figures indicate that the cost of telecommunications is quite expensive in relation to the average income of a family of four in Turkey. A December study from the Türk-İş labor union indicated that the poverty threshold for a family of four in Turkey is 7055 TL ($1175).

However, the minimum wage in Turkey is 2000 TL ($333) per month, and many families survive on much less than what Türk-İş considers to be the poverty threshold. This means that the annual average cost for telecommunications for a family of four is nearly double the monthly minimum wage. 

In a Turkish family where both parents make minimum wage, the annual income would be around 48,000 TL ($8,000), meaning that the telecommunications cost would constitute 6,25 percent of the family’s income.

In a U.S. family with an annual income of less than $15,000, telecommunications services would average around a thousand dollars, as revealed by a 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Survey. Percentage-wise, this number is almost the same as a Turkish family’s telecommunications spending.

Taxes on telecommunications in Turkey have continually been on the rise, and while it is already expensive to purchase foreign-made smartphones in Turkey, (an iPhone X costs between 7000 – 8000 TL ($1166-$1333), accounting an entire month of what is considered a high salary in Turkey), the registration fees on unlocked telephones purchased abroad have also skyrocketed. 

As of July of this year, the fees to register phones purchased from outside of Turkey to be able to use them within the country more than doubled to 1500 TL ($250), in what is evidently an effort to stop the common practice of people from purchasing unlocked phones abroad for cheaper prices than what they cost in Turkey.