ZIMBABWE’s telecommunications companies registered a 19 percent growth in cumulative revenue to $292,7 million in the third quarter to September 2017, compared to $244,5 million recorded in the previous quarter driven by growth in data usage.
According to regulator, Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) mobile internet data usage was up 39,1 percent to 4 129 terabytes. The country has been experiencing an increase in mobile data usage as mobile phone and internet penetration have been growing exponentially. Figures from POTRAZ show that the mobile penetration rate increased by 3,5 percentage points to 100,5 percent from 97 percent in the second quarter.
The active internet penetration rate increased by 0,9 percentage points to 49,5 percent from 48,6 percent recorded in the previous quarter of 2017. All the three mobile operators registered an increase in data usage while Econet having the highest market share of 70 percent. NetOne recorded the highest increase in data or internet consumption at 86 percent, which resulted in its market share increasing by 5,7 percentage points to 22 percent of total market share. Of the total industry revenue, mobile operators contributed $224,8 million during the quarter under review, representing a 36 percent growth.
“The increase in overall operator revenue is attributable to the growth in internet and data usage as well as mobile money services,” said POTRAZ. The industry’s aggregate revenue per user per month increased by 10,8 percent to $4,41 from $3,98 recorded in the previous quarter. Total operating costs for mobile operators declined by 6,3 percent to $123 million from $131 million the prior quarter.
POTRAZ said the decline was a result of efforts by mobile operators to cut down operating expenditure. The aggregate average cost per user per month declined by 9,3 percent to $2,72.
However, investment by mobile operators declined by 37,2 percent to $31 million. Active fixed telephone lines declined by 2,3 percent to reach 260 183 while fixed tele-density remained at 1,9 percent. Since the advent of the mobile phones, fixed network services have continued to face stiff competition resulting in declines in voice revenues as, consumers opt for the more convenient mobile phones.
According to POTRAZ, most of the fixed telephone lines in rural areas belong to local authorities as well as educational and health institutions. The national mobile voice traffic increased by 7,6 percent to record 924,7 million minutes from 859 million minutes recorded in the previous quarter. Revenue from other services such as postal and courier revenues decreased by 1 percent to $13,8. Postal services provider, Zimpost said recently that it was working on growing other services such as money transfer to offset the decline in mail postal services.
However, the firm is still upbeat of good returns from postal and courier services driven by increased online based purchases, as the purchased goods still require to be couriered to customers.–herald