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Smartphone owners hit with TV-licence fee

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Smartphone owners hit with TV-licence fee
07:15 CET+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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