Syriatel doubles internet prices without official announcement
On February 1st, Syriatel, a mobile network provider in Syria, raised the prices of its internet packages without any official announcement.
Last night, Syriatel network users received a message that included the new internet package prices, showing that the cost of the 80 GB internet package reached 196,000 Syrian pounds for the monthly subscription after it was previously 87,500 Syrian pounds.
Local social media pages circulated the new internet package prices, which varied from 3,500 pounds for 500 megabytes to 82,000 pounds for a 50-gigabyte package for ten days. Meanwhile, the monthly packages ranged from 8,000 pounds for one gigabyte to 236,000 pounds for 110 gigabytes.
The prices of some packages exceed the minimum wages of public sector employees in areas under the regime’s control. This wage, after the latest increase in mid-August, amounted to 185,940 Syrian pounds (equivalent to 13.2 US dollars).
The price hikes came after Syriatel discontinued all of its packages without an official announcement from the company itself or the Syrian Telecommunications Company.
Price increases, earnings growth
Under the justification of “ensuring the continuity of services,” the Syrian Telecommunication and Post Regulatory Authority raised the prices of cellular and fixed telecommunication services twice in 2023. The financial figures of both companies indicate that the increases are an attempt to maintain profit margins, while the scope and quality of the services remained without noticeable change.
The most recent instance was an increase of 25 to 35% on the basic tariffs of cellular services and 30% on the tariffs of fixed telecommunication services and internet, according to a decision issued on October 25, 2023.
At the time, the decision was justified by “ensuring the continuity of providing basic services from the operating companies in the telecommunications sector to all subscribers, and allowing companies to cover the expenses incurred by these services due to the direct impact of the current economic conditions and the escalation of oil derivatives prices and the exchange rate.”
Syriatel achieved noticeable profits and growth; according to data tracked by Enab Baladi, the company’s revenue reached nearly one trillion Syrian pounds for the first nine months of 2023, compared with 456.6 billion for the same period in 2022, indicating a growth rate of 122%.
Syriatel’s net profits, not accounting for unrealized currency evaluation differences, amounted to 202.5 billion pounds by the end of September 2023, compared with 97 billion for the same period in 2022, amounting to a growth rate of 108% for Syriatel’s profits.
The exchange rate of the Syrian pound reached 14,775 against the US dollar at the time of this report, according to the S-P Today website, which specializes in monitoring the rates of foreign currencies.
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