Zimbabwe's NetOne bounces back as revenue, subscribers increase

Zimbabwe state-owned mobile firm NetOne appears to be recovering from the loss of nearly half of its subscribers in Q1 2018 as documented in a report by the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz).

The company's revenue amounted to US$10 million in September 2018, driven by a surge in subscriber numbers, a reduction in data charges and other promotions.

According to state media this was about 6% above projections by the company.

NetOne Acting Chief Executive Officer Nkosinathi Ncube is quoted as saying: "The company increased its subscriber base by three percent during the month of September with an increase in the OneMoney active subscribers within the same period."

Year-on-year, NetOne has generated US$84 million in revenue, which represents an increase of around 9% on the prior contrasting period, according to Ncube.

"The performance of NetOne's data products has also contributed to the positive growth in revenue from $20 million in the prior year to $33 million this year, which is a 65 percent increase in revenue from data services," he added.

This was the result of the company's network expansion project to extend its national 3G footprint, Ncube said.

NetOne's competition Econet Wireless has also gained subscribers, while transaction volumes and values across its mobile money offering, EcoCash, have increased owing to the country's currency shortages

An executive with an accountancy firm involved in the Zimbabwean telecom industry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, "NetOne has an aggressive strategy aimed at full utilisation of its data capacity in the hope that this will enable it to raise more revenue and also attract subscribers from the other operators. Cheaper data is paying off as shown by the amount it generated in revenue in just one month given that this is a company that is not well off financially."

NetOne is one of the companies earmarked for privatisation by the government and industry insiders say foreign telecos have expressed interest to snap up shares in the company.