Zimbabwe mobile phone penetration rate down 6.4%

By Staff reporter | 16 Sep 2020 at 06:37hrs
Zimbabwe's mobile penetration rate was down 6.4% in the second quarter to 87.8% from 94.0% recorded in the first quarter according to statistics released by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe.
The penetration rate fell after a decline in active mobile subscriptions, which were down 6.7% to 12.8 million from 13.7 million.  With consumer disposable incomes depleting by each day in the second quarter due to rising inflation, active internet and data subscriptions also declined by 4% to 8.3 million from 8.6 million. This resulted in a decline to 56.7% on the internet penetration rate from 59.1% in the previous quarter.
However due to increased internet hours from off-site working, telecommuting, as well as e-learning, mobile internet in data traffic increased by 56.2% to 10.407 terabyte from 6.661 terabyte recorded in the first quarter.
Despite a fall in volumes of both voice and Internet, mobile telephone networks recorded a 45.8% in revenue to $3 billion from $2.1 billion in the first quarter. As the norm under hyperinflation costs also grew at a rate of 217% to $16.1 billion from $5.1 billion recorded in the previous quarter.
Fixed telephone network revenue was up 39.4% to $430.4 million from $308.9 million. However the sector also saw a leap of 44.4% in operating costs from $239 million to $345.6 million.
COVID-19 disrupted business in various sectors and Postal and Courier services were not an exception. The sector saw a fall in both revenues and volumes as most parts of the country were under lockdown in Q2. Postal and Courier volumes declined by 79.7% to 272 881 items from 1.3 million items recorded in the first quarter. Revenue was down 2.1% to $69.4 million from $70.9 million but during the period under review operating costs increased by 13% to $58.7 million.
The ICT sector continues to be affected by foreign currency shortages as most of their equipment is procured outside the borders. The Internet continues to be expensive since Zimbabwe is a landlocked country and uses undersea cables via Mozambique and South Africa.
On the outlook POTRAZ believes that retaining subscribers will be the key objective for mobile service providers. An increase in promotions mainly for voice will increase in the current quarter as a way of luring new and old subscribers. Internet activity will continue to rise despite a fall new subscriber base as the pandemic has brought new ways of doing business to the country.



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