Potraz fourth quarter F18 the performance of the mobile sector, quarterly revenues declined 13.3% to $287 million despite a 1.3% rise in active mobile subscriptions, a 4.1% rise in mobile voice traffic and a 15.6% rise in mobile internet and data usage.
The quarterly growth in subscriptions was shared between Econet and Netone, which grew 1.9% and 5.2%. The other mobile network provider, Telecel saw subscriptions fall 12.3%. The market structure was not significantly affected as Econet remained the dominant player with 66.3% while NetOne grew to 25.2% at the expense of Telecel which shrunk to 8.5%.
The annual comparison indicated that mobile subscriptions actually declined by 8.4% to 12,9 million while total revenues increased 36% from 2017 to $1.155 billion and operating costs rose by 25.3% to reach $660 million. The average revenue per user grew 29.8% to $5.58 while cost increased more by 40.7% to $3.77, which saw the average margin per user decline to 33% from 38%.
Capital expenditure in mobile network infrastructure declined 41% in 2018 to 59 million. Nevertheless, the total number of base stations in the country increased to 8,796 from 8,662. The majority of the new bases were for 2G network services while 3G and LTE bases had a net increase of 38 each. Overall, 2G coverage is now at 93.4% of the population, 3G is at 83.9% and LTE is at 34.9% while mobile penetration is 93.1%.
Active mobile money subscriptions grew 35% to 6.352 million in 2018 while the country's liquidity challenges saw the total value mobile transactions rise significantly.
The fourth quarter saw growth of 1.6% in active subscriptions, with OneMoney capturing the majority of the new business. Overall the market structure of the mobile money sector remained relatively unchanged.
The Econet linked EcoCash service remains dominant with 95.4% of the market, NetOne's OneMoney holds 3.8% and Telecel's Telecash has 0.8%. The lack of interoperability between the mobile wallet services can be expected to see EcoCash maintain its position as the dominant service.