A telecom industry report this week revealed that Econet Wireless Zimbabwe had the highest Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of $8,57 between July and September this year, ahead of its main industry rivals Telecel, whose ARPU was $2.63, and NetOne, whose ARPU was $1.86 in the same period.
ARPU is a key industry metric used by Telecom operators, investors and analysts to assess the value and potential viability of a telecom business or asset. It is calculated by dividing total monthly revenue by the number of active customers over a given period.
The figures, from a Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) 2017 third quarter (Q3) Telecom sector report, showed that Zimbabwe’s mobile telecom industry grew by 21%, from $185,6 million in the second quarter (June to July 2017), to $224.8.
It showed that Econet grew its revenue market share from 77,9% in Q2 to 81,6% in Q3, while NetOne’s revenue market share declined from 14% in Q2 to 12,1% in Q3. Telecel’s revenue market share also fell from 8,1% to 6,3%.
The revenue market share performance came on the backdrop of increased active customer growth across all three mobile operators in the third quarter.
Econet Wireless, the only listed MNO in Zimbabwe, enjoyed the highest growth, recording a 6,9% increase to end the quarter on 7,137,171 active customers while State-owned NetOne grew by half a percentage point (0,5%) to record 4,868,897 active customers in Q3. Telecel, currently the smallest of the three MNOs by subscriber count, put on a marginal 0,3% more active subscribers, finishing the quarter on 1,793,580 customers. Telecel Zimbawe was was recently acquired by the government.
Among the three major networks, Econet added the highest number of new customers – so-called net additions – in Q3, thus dominating the share of net additions (SONA) ratio. As opposed to gross additions, net customer additions are the additional customers a network retains after accounting for those that leave or drop off from the network. The SONA ratio compares the share of net additions in an industry, offering an insight into projected future market growth per operator.
The Potraz report showed that Econet added 460,000 customers in Q3, compared to NetOne which put on 23,000 net additions, and Telecel, which managed 5,000 net additions. Econet therefore achieved a SONA ratio of 94%, which should bode well for the operator’s future market share prospects. NetOne’s SONA was 5%, while Telecel had a SONA of 1%.
Along with an ARPU five times higher than that of its nearest industry rival, the report shows that Econet had the most valuable customers in Q3, suggesting significantly higher usage of its products and services by its customers, in comparison of those of its rivals.–b24