Active mobile subscriptions increase to 14 million

The total number of active mobile subscription increased by 2,1 percent to 14 092 104 million for the year to December 31, 2017 from 13 799 648 million recorded during the previous quarter, according the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe’s (Potraz) fourth quarter report.

The increase was attributed to a number of individuals increasingly having more than one active sim card.

During the period under review, Econet’s mobile subscription increased to 7 488 588 million from 7 137 171 a 4,9 percent increase. NetOne recorded a 1,8 percent increase from 4 868 897 to 4 957 105. Telecel’s subscriptions declined by 8,2 percent from 1 793 580 to 1 646 411.

“Telecel was the only operator to register a decline in subscription whereas Econet registered the highest growth in subscriptions (4,9
percent),” said Potraz.

The regulatory authority added that mobile penetration rate increased by 2,2 percent to reach 102,7 percent from 100,5 percent recorded in the previous quarter because of the 2,1 percent growth in active subscriptions.

Econet ended the year with a market share of 53,1 percent, up from the 51,7 percent recorded in the previous quarter. NetOne’s market share declined by 0,1 percent to 35,2 percent from 35,3 percent. Telecel’s market share declined by 1,3 percent to 11,7 percent from 13 percent.

Mobile telecoms sector revenue during the period under review increased 17,6 percent to $849,49 million compared to $722,93 million in 2016 largely driven by adoption of plastic money and higher uptake in data.

“Big leaps in active mobile money subscriptions were experienced in 2017. Mobile money provided an effective alternative to cash formaking payments in the midst of the liquidity crisis,” said Potraz.

Year-on-year, the total number of active mobile money subscriptions increased by 42,5 percent to reach 4 706 778 in 2017 from 3 303 188 recorded in 2016.

Operating costs also increased by 4,7 percent to $527,34 million from $503,44 million in 2016 while investments fell by 46,3 percent to record $100,9 million from $187,7 million invested in 2016.

Overall, the telecommunications sector revenue increased by 11,2 percent to record $1 109 899 246 from $998 094 747 recorded in 2016.

Revenues by Internet Access Providers registered the biggest growth rate of 17,8 percent to $186 843 531 from $158 565 855 recorded in 2016.

Potraz said the growth in telecommunications revenue was attributed to the upsurge in the consumption of data and Internet in the country.

According to the Potraz’s sector performance for the fourth quarter of last year, total revenue for the three mobile operators in the country increased by 15,6 percent to $259,711,601 from $224,759,544 recorded in the previous quarter.

Average revenue per user per month increased by 9,5 percent to $4,83 from $4,41 recorded in the third quarter of 2017.

The average cost per user per month also increased by 4,8 percent to $2,34 from $2,31 recorded in the prior quarter.

Total mobile investment, however, declined by 74,1 percent to $8,2 million from $31,7 million realised in the previous quarter.

The Financial Gazette