Mobile subscribers increase to 18,6m

HARARE - Zimbabwe's mobile telephone subscribers grew by 5,5 percent in the first quarter of this year to 18,6 million from 17,6 million recorded as at December 31, 2014, latest official figures show.

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) in its latest report noted that active mobile subscribers marginally rose by 0,5 percent to reach 11,9 million from 11,8 million subscribers recorded in the previous quarter.

“The mobile penetration rate (active) also increased from 90,3 percent recorded in the previous quarter to reach 90,8 percent,” the watchdog said, adding that all the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) except Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (Econet) registered a decline in their active subscriber bases.

Zimbabwe has three MNOs, Econet, NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe (Telecel).

In terms of market share of active subscribers Econet subscribers increased to 55,8 percent from 54,7 percent while NetOne market share for subscribers decreased from 27,1 percent to 26,7 percent as Telecel market share also plummeted to 17,5 percent from 18,2 percent.

“A comparison with fourth quarter market share statistics shows that Econet’s market share increased whereas NetOne and Telecel’s market share declined. This is coherent with the decline in the subscriber bases of Telecel and NetOne and the gain in active subscribers by Econet,” said Potraz.

The total national traffic generated by the mobile networks in the first quarter of 2015 was 1,1 billion, representing a 16,6 percent decline in traffic from 1,4 billion generated in the previous quarter.

In the period under review, revenue for MNOs slumped 14, 2 percent to $188 million.

According to Potraz, various factors led to the revenue slump for MNOs, with the main one being a decline in voice telephony, highlighting that the reduction in tariffs on January 1 this year had little effect on revenues.

Potraz early this year slashed mobile tariffs by over 30 percent to $0,15 from an average $0,23 per minute and short messages from $0,09 to $0,05.

“The decline in revenue cannot be wholly attributable to the tariff reduction, but also to the substitution effect whereby consumers are slowly shifting to Internet and data-based applications such as WhatsApp which are becoming popular by the day.

“This is evidenced by the decline in voice traffic processed by the mobile operators and the increase in data traffic and revenue of 7,4 percent despite a marginal decline in the Internet penetration rate of 0,7 percent during the first quarter of 2015 compared to the last quarter of 2014,” the watchdog said.

Potraz also said fixed telephone voice services generated a total of $35 737 488 representing a 19,5 percent decline in revenue from $44 409 883 generated in the fourth quarter of last year.

Comments (7)

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Bright Makwindi - 9 September 2015

Thot the population was 13, something million. Graves and unborne children subscribing!,2, 3, 4..... sim cards per person

cmoyo - 9 September 2015

how can we have 18m subscribers in a country with 13 million people of which over 50% are children? If I have 4 contracts, do you count me as 4 subscribers?

Bere - 10 September 2015

18.6m subscribers how if we are 13 million in total including those in the diaspora,are you counting the number of active lines ??

chihombori - 10 September 2015

If u buy your groceries from OK and TM these shops can both list you as their customer,similarly if you have an Econet and Telecel line it means you are a subscriber to both and each can list u as their subscriber period so when statistics are summed the number will obviously be higher than the country population

Bruno - 11 September 2015

thank you bruno

wellas - 11 September 2015

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