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Smartphone owners hit with TV-licence fee

Smartphone owners hit with TV-licence fee

Published: 04 Mar 2013 07:15 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Mar 2013 07:15 GMT+01:00

Swedish TV-licence fee collectors have started asking Swedes if they have smartphones, in a drive to round up anyone who may be streaming content online but not paying the annual television fee.

Currently, anyone with a television receiver is required by law to pay the 2,076 kronor ($320) annual fee, which is collected and enforced by Radiotjänst, a division of Swedish public service broadcasting.

In recent weeks, TV-licence fee collection agency Radiotjänst has made a push to target Swedes who watch digitally streamed content on computer and tablet devices such as the iPad.

Now, the Kiruna-based company is targeting smartphone users, and a handful of Swedes have already coughed up for their mobile usage.

"Three people who can watch television on their mobile phones have chosen to pay the fee so far," Radiotjänst's CEO Carl-Gustav Johansson told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN).

"Despite this, it's possible that they even have a computer, with a separate screen, or a TV-apparatus that they can also use."

Radiotjänst workers have started a round-up telephone survey of the 350,000 Swedes not paying the fee, in order to confirm if any of them are using any "contributing equipment" that would allow them to stream online content, wrote DN.

Johansson explained that in February alone, 2,000 Swedes joined the list of those paying for their TV.

"It's probably because people are realizing the new rules are in place," he told DN.

The Swedish TV-licence law has been in place since 2006, when it was stated that anyone who can access an entire TV channel on any device is require to pay the fee. When private broadcaster TV4 put all their channels online in autumn last year, that law came into effect.

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Your comments about this article

08:30 March 4, 2013 by StockholmSam
This is friggin' nuts. I don't mind paying a little bit to support commercial-free television, but the current price is way too high. Cut the price down to about 1000 kronor per year and I will not complain. But to demand several thousand kronor per year for TV content that might not even be consumed is crazy. And to demand it of smartphone owners is beyond nuts.
09:37 March 4, 2013 by occassional
I never asked for a streaming service.
10:10 March 4, 2013 by star10
What a non-sense law. Now a days, almost everyone has a smart phone (irrespective of watching the crappy state TV). They could as well say: "Everybody who rents/owns a house has a place to keep his/her TV. So everybody who rents/owns a house should pay TV license fee."
10:45 March 4, 2013 by netxray
I don't mind if it is a commercial TV. I mind if it is charging. Can I choose not to watch SVT on a TV?
11:06 March 4, 2013 by riose
It would be funny if PLUS did something about this.
11:30 March 4, 2013 by Marc the Texan
This is an easy problem to resolve if they are really interested in charging for use, which was the original aim of TV license laws. With traditional TV, it was impossible to know who was watching content and who wasn't so the reasoning was to charge everyone with a receiver. And before commercial TV in Sweden, the only choice was state TV so if you had a television there was only one thing you could watch.

The internet is very different, you can easily limit access to your content based on who has paid and who has not. Therefore only allow content to those who are willing to pay it. I guess they wouldn't like this idea though because chances are nobody would would ever sign up for it.

That in turn, begs the larger question. Why charge the public lots of money to produce content that no one watches?
12:51 March 4, 2013 by expatdave
@Stockholm sam

I'm with you buddy....this is friggin nuts!!

Lets face it everyone watches tv...so just increase taxes and be done with it, sack the collection agency, cut your costs, in turn reducing the tax increase of which people like stockholm sam are willing to pay and consequently stop the waste of resources and money squandering chasing smart phone users and computer users....that's insanity. Where is the common sense and direction of our great leaders??
13:12 March 4, 2013 by Reason and Realism
Can someone please publish the phone number(s) that will displayed on our phones when these bloodsucking TV tax tyrants call us to see if we have a smartphone (or iPad, TV, or computer)? Or do they still conduct their terror raids door to door?

If they call to make this determination, I would liketo know the number as this will give me the option to ignore their call, or to hit an app to screeches out a fax tone into their ears.

Also, if happen to 'forget' when they have call that I have a computer, and if they later discover that I have a computer, does anyone how big the fine will be?
13:17 March 4, 2013 by beam_me_up
I would assume then that all companies and government offices throughout the country, including Radiotjänst, will also be charged a TV license, as well, since they all have internet connections on their office computers, etc....
13:52 March 4, 2013 by Nilspet
I totally agree with @expatdave. It is totally nonsense. Does this conform with the EU regulations? To radiotjänst: you cannot simply charge people who do not watch TV on mobile devices. In fact it is better if this organization is pulled down (this will automatically save a lot of money!) and then increase income tax by 0.1 %, and the state will earn more than enough money to run public service broadcasting.
14:25 March 4, 2013 by J Jack
Why watch tv on a smartphone? it's too small and then you need headphones for sound quality which is annoying .. it will also drain the battery .. the radiotjänst bullies are greedy and their flexing of the law is just plain communist. Sweden needs to amend the law to prevent this manipulation .. it's embarrassing!
16:27 March 4, 2013 by Andrew
Singapore has just abolished TV & Radio license because in today's world, it makes no sense to have this anymore. Furthermore, Sweden is one of the leading countries in terms of technology. And it seems the organisations cannot keep up with the digital age. So as long as one has a internet at home, does it means we have to pay?

It is better to have true caller block such spam calls. We are now in 2013....not 80s.
17:18 March 4, 2013 by Chriskatt
its insane. It's over the top. There's better things that could be done w the money- rather give it to charity... Petitions need to be started. It's one thing to pay a small fee... but paying for something that we dont use is insane and criminal. It's like paying for a newspaper because you have a mailbox/paper box.
17:22 March 4, 2013 by El Barto
This is preposterous, Now I have to pay the fees even though I am using my computer for emails, study etc, Because I don't think they gonna believe me if I said I am not watching any TV.
18:36 March 4, 2013 by born2die
A nonsense and rediculous law had applied to smartphone owner.

Why TV license fee make it better by charging whoever access their online-TV. What about people using Kontant without internet on their phone, they have to pay tv fee too?
19:09 March 4, 2013 by Eric1
Paying a TV fee is immoral. Public TV uses the money to promote a leftist political views. Forcing people to pay this fee is horrible. Is there no end to the greed of the political machine!
20:44 March 4, 2013 by Enjoyourlife
Now, this is violation of human rights.....the right to own my phone. They want to suck people dry. Paying my phone and internet monthly +tv.
21:01 March 4, 2013 by Mxzf
I complained about this here and there when the law was made up, but back then *absolutely noone* cared what the law would mean...

...right now I think Radiotjänst is killing themselves. We'll see another payment system within a year, and Radiotjänst will be killed. (And Kiruna will complain about lost jobs. Smooth!)
22:11 March 4, 2013 by Phillynilly
It won't make any difference how much people don't like it. This is Sweden.The authorities will neither listen nor care....
23:47 March 5, 2013 by BackpackerKev
Have to agree with Phillynilly.

This mobile tax thing does nothing but reinforce the idea that people making the decisions are nothing but dumb apes being paid large amounts of money via the licence fee for their own bonuses. As someone said its 2013. Sweden may lead in technology, but the mentality is stuck in the 80's.

If you suspect people of viewing streaming media for the channels on their mobile devices YOU ASK THEM FOR THEIR PERSONAL NUMBER ON THE STREAMING MEDIA ACCOUNT. It doesn't take a genius on the computer to connect together a personal number with a registered address with a valid TV licence. If your registered address doesn't have a valid licence, then you get charged on demand or something.. Im pretty sure 99% of this is already done and in a computer system, it just takes a brain , something very lacking in many circumstances
15:53 March 8, 2013 by Zedman
Apart from the fact that i resent any payment because state TV which is not worth paying for, how do these parasites sleep at night taking money off hard working people and basically giving them nothing in return, perhaps we should only pay a percentage, on state TV there are two programs we watch total 1.5 hours per week, why should we pay for a whole year?. As for internet, the quality of Swedish internet is so archaic we couldn't watch TV on it anyway?, cann't watch youtune or any other stream, no service provider in this area is fast enough?. IS that a defence? probably not.
16:01 March 8, 2013 by Khader
This is absolutely nonsense ...... and what if I dont use TV via my mobile will i pay in all cases!!
22:36 March 9, 2013 by Peter1234
Should every Swede older than 18 start to pay alcohol tax next, just because he is entitled to buy alcohol from Systembolaget?

In my opinion this new law is violating findamental understanding of rights. Where are the laywers? Does this law comply with EU laws?

If all person with internet access should pay, then please call it internet tax. But in this case the tax should not go to the television providers and it could be easily collected by the internet providers.

Radiotjänst: Don't lie! You only want other people money because you could not run the company well! Why should I then pay for your problems??

Is there any organisaton to start fighting back? I would love to join!
11:34 March 10, 2013 by sparc
@Peter1234 all adults are paying a huge tax on alcohol every time we actually purchase it (!) which of course is how it should be. This blindly applied TV license fee is ridiculous.

The only way for this to make sense is if they convert to a encrypted digital signal and (provide/rent) the basic equipment. Then anyone interested could willfully apply. Radiotjänst could even charge an even higher premium for the equipment. Of course, how many would be interested?

The way public TV is right now could be perceived as a racket: "We are free to put up any program we like and you are forced to pay, regardless of usage". Simply ridiculous!
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