Telecommunications sector continues to grow

Zimbabwe’s telecommunications sector continues to grow, marked by an increasing mobile telephone penetration rate and corresponding increases in data and internet subscribers.

According to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe Postal and Telecommunications Sector Performance Report for the2013 third quarter, total mobile subscribers increased by 5,6 percent, rising to 13,518,887 from 12,796,118 subscribers recorded in the previous quarter.

“The mobile penetration rate increased by 5,5 percentage points to reach 103,5 percent from 98,4 percent recorded in the previous quarter,” Potraz said.

In contrast to the mobile sector the report said that fixed telephone subscribers declined by 2 percent to reach 307,202 subscribers from 314,622 recorded in the previous period.

At the end of the quarter under review, the population under mobile coverage stood at 74,9 percent against a land coverage of 70,1 percent. This marked a 1,8 percent growth in the population covered by mobile networks and a 1,5 percent growth in land coverage compared to the previous quarter.

During the same period state owned mobile telecommunications provider NetOne gained a bigger market share while Econet Wireless remained on top and registered 408,127 new subscribers in its network between July and September 2013.

Telecel had a market share of 18,8 percent and was ranked second registering 95,652 new subscribers while NetOne had a market share of 18,1 percent netting 218,990 new users within the quarter.

Data and internet subscribers increased by 6,9 percent to reach 5,2 million from 4,9 million subscribers recorded in the previous quarter while the internet penetration rate increased by 2,5 percent to reach 39,8 percent from 37,3 percent recorded in the previous quarter.

Potraz said the sector was largely driven by mobile telephony. “This is evidenced by the continuous growth of mobile subscribers and the increasing traffic volumes for both national and international calls”.

This growth is likely to continue and will be characterised by stiff competition and product diversification aimed at sustaining or increasing revenues and market share, the authority added.

Growth in the mobile data and internet segment was the main driver in the upward trend recorded in the data/internet market.

In the quarter under review, the mobile penetration rate increased from 37,3 percent recorded in the previous quarter to 39,8 percent. Operators continue to investment heavily in data and internet services mainly through optic fibre expansion projects, Potraz said.

Success in the mobile industry has come at a cost for the fixed telephone sector.

“Fixed telephone subscriptions have continued to decline as the fixed network operator continues to face competition from the mobile service providers,” said Potraz.

Postal services have also been adversely affected by telecommunication services especially on the mail volumes.

“The challenge for the sector is to modernise operations and to diversify products and service offers,” said the authority.

During the period under review the number of letters sent using postal services were 3,6 million, down from 4,3 million letters posted in the previous period. This represented a decline of 15,4 percent.

“This decline could be as a result of a shift towards electronic communication and commerce,” said Potraz.

Post published in: Business
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