Telcoms sector records positive growth


HARARE-ZIMBABWE has registered growth in mobile Internet and Data traffic by 6.2% to record 44,67 Petabytes in the third quarter, from 42,06 Petabytes recorded in the Second quarter of 2023, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has said.

Inits latest performance sector report, POTRAZ director general Dr Gift Machengete said Econet and Telecel recorded growths in mobile Internet and Data traffic in the quarter under review, with NetOne recorded a decline in Internet and Data traffic by a margin of 18.9%.

He said Econet and Telecel market shares of internet and data traffic grew by 6.3% and 0.3% respectively.

Whereas NetOne lost its internet and data traffic market share by a margin of 6.6% in the third quarter. 

“Despite the decline by NetOne, total internet and data traffic for mobile network operators increased significantly by 6.2%, owing to a 15.5% growth in traffic by Econet,” he said.

 In the third quarter of 2023, the mobile network operators’ (MNO) revenue growth jumped to 95.3%, up from ZW$435.7 billion recorded in the previous quarter to ZW$850.8 billion.

“On the other hand, mobile network operators incurred operating costs of ZW$430 billion from ZW$215.8 billion incurred in the previous quarter. This translated to a 99.3% growth in total operating costs. Total capital expenditure by mobile network operators grew by 27.1% from ZW$26.7 billion to ZW$33.9 billion,” added Dr Machengete.

He revealed that the mobile penetration rate has reached 97.5%, which translates to 6% active mobile subscriptions growth in the year under review.

Total subscriptions jumped to 14,794,579 as of 30 September 2023,  from 13,955,937 recorded in the second quarter.

Growth in mobile subscriptions was heavily driven by the expansion of NetOne’s subscriber base.

NetOne gained subscriber market share of 2.7% in the third quarter of 2023, whilst Econet and Telecel lost 2.6% and 0.2% respectively.

“Telecel’s subscriber base continued to diminish in the quarter under review, whereas Econet realized a marginal growth of 2.2%.

However, Econet continued to dominate in terms of subscribers with close to 70% share of the market,”.

Mobile voice traffic grew significantly by 30% to record 3.29 billion minutes from 2.53 billion minutes recorded in the second quarter of 2023.

The growth in mobile voice traffic was attributed to an eroded voice tariff which fluctuated around USD 0.01 for onnet calls throughout the quarter, coupled with promotions by operators which resulted in a 37.5% surge in net on net traffic.

The Postal and Telecommunications industry experienced growth in nominal revenues in the third quarter of 2023 influenced by inflationary pressures and depreciating currency.

However, operators’ revenue in real terms did not improve by the same margins as nominal growths in the quarter under review. 

Although the sector registered some positives, it “still faces inadequate foreign currency resources that are required to upgrade, expand, and maintain telecommunication networks”.

“Low disposable incomes in the country remain a major constraint on service affordability and uptake by postal and telecommunication users. The sector is heavily affected by power outages, which increase the cost-of-service provision. These are operational realities that inhibit sector growth,” added Dr Muchengete in the report.

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