WHILE the year 2021 saw a huge rise in data prices across Zimbabwe’s three mobile telecoms operators, the operators’ revenues increased by 15,8% to $19,5 billion during the third quarter of 2021, according to Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) data released on Wednesday.
The report further says the largest network operator Econet lost its market share by 7 percent, while NetOne was the only mobile network to record a gain in market share in the year under review.
“Telecel and Econet lost market share by 0,1% and 7%, respectively, whereas NetOne gained market share by 0,8%. Post-paid subscriptions constituted only 2,5% of total active mobile subscriptions and have been fluctuating over the course of the year. In an inflationary environment, both service providers and consumers prefer pre-paid subscriptions.
“The pre-paid platform provides consumers control of their expenditure, at the same time allowing them to enjoy lower tariffs from promotions.
“On the other hand, it also minimises the risk of bad debts to operators,” Potraz noted.
The performance was also boosted by a rise in active mobile telephone subscriptions, which increased by 3,4% to 13,9 million during the review period, compared to 13,5 million during the second quarter of 2021.
This translated to a 2,2% rise in mobile phone penetration rate to 93,5% compared to 91,3% during the previous quarter.
The sector, made up of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed Econet Wireless, Telecel Zimbabwe and the State-run NetOne, generated $16,9 billion in quarter, Potraz noted.
“Mobile operator revenues grew by 15,8% to record $19 537 428 107 from $16 867 934 111 recorded in the second quarter of 2021,” Potraz said.
“The growth in revenue is attributable to growth in voice traffic as well as internet and data traffic.
The revenue contribution of voice service declined earnings from internet and data services increased.
The revenue contribution of internet and data service has been consistently increasing as demand is constantly rising.
An increase in out-of-bundle mobile internet and data traffic was recorded in the quarter and this had a positive impact on revenue.
Operating costs grew by 40,9% to $12,5 billion in the third quarter of 2021 from $8,8 billion recorded, Potraz noted.
The report said an overall growth of 19,3% in mobile voice traffic to 2,1 billion minutes, compared to 1,8 billion minutes recorded in the second quarter.
Internet access providers’ revenue increased 10,2% to $7,2 billion, was recorded from $5,9 billion during the previous quarter.
Potraz said active internet and data subscriptions increased by 1,2% to 9,3 million during the third quarter of 2021, compared to 9,2 million recorded during the second quarter.
It said active fixed telephone lines declined by 0,4% to 244 316 during the period, from 245 322 recorded during the second quarter of 2021, while revenues generated by the fixed telephone network grew by 25,2% to $2,3 billion.
This figure was $1,8 billion during the second quarter.
The sector has been one of a few that have been spared the wrath of the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a big shift to data and voice communications since 2020 as physical meetings have been affected by the need for social distancing.