Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) yesterday said it recorded a $13,5 million surplus position in the year to December 2017, after collecting $31,9 million in revenue.
Ozias Bvute, the industry regulator’s chairperson, said the organisation weathered last year’s economic storm and experienced a healthy working capital position with revenue targets surpassed by 26 percent.
“The surplus at the end of the financial year was recorded courtesy of enhanced cost containment initiatives by management,” he said in the parastatal’s annual report for 2017.
Bvute said during the year under review, the telecommunications sector had seen mobile and Internet subscriptions increasing while the number of active fixed telephone lines decreased.
“While there was an increase in data and Internet usage in 2017, there was a decline in voice traffic. Revenue generated by the sector increased in 2017 mainly as a result of the upsurge in the usage of data and Internet services,” he said.
Meanwhile, Potraz director general Gift Machengete said the industry regulator came up with regulations on human exposure to non-ionising electromagnetic field radiation —which set maximum emission levels from telecommunications equipment — in order to protect and safeguard the health of both consumers and staff members of the operators.
“In 2017, in line with its mandate, the authority penalised mobile network operators for breaching Quality of Service standards,” he said.
The Potraz boss added that licensing requirements were amended last year and the organisation now holds the singular mandate to fix licence renewal time frames.
“After realising that operators were struggling to comply with the law which required them to pay initial and renewal licence fees on or before the issuance of the licence, the authority amended the regulations on licensing in order to give the authority discretion in setting timeframes for payment of initial and renewal licence fees,” he said.
Meanwhile, 2017 marked an upturn in sector revenues for telecommunications players from the depressed growth experienced since 2014.
Total telecommunications revenue increased 11,2 percent to record $1,1 billion from $998,0 million recorded in 2016.
Despite growth in other markets, the fixed telephone network registered a decline of 0,02 percent to record $116,5 million from $116,5 million recorded in 2016 as mobile revenues increased 17,6 percent to record $849,8 million from $722,9 million recorded in 2016.
Revenues by Internet Access Providers registered the biggest growth rate of 17,8 percent to record $186,8 million from $158,5 million recorded in 2016 with the growth in telecommunications revenue attributed to an upsurge in the consumption of data and internet in the country.
— The Financial Gazette