Zimbabwe struggles with slow uptake and use of mobile telephony


The majority of consumers of telecom services in Zimbabwe are below the age of 35 claims a new consumer satisfaction survey, released this week, which also highlights that telecom operators in the country are functioning against "suppressed income levels" and growing informalisation of the economy.

These factors have contributed to the slow uptake and use of mobile telephony services over the past three years.

Zimbabwe's mobile industry is dominated by Econet Wireless, while state-controlled NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe remain active.

The 2018 Consumer Satisfaction Survey, commissioned by the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz), reflects on the state of the country's mobile and telecommunications market over the past three years.

An excerpt from the report reads: "The market was largely youthful with majority of the consumers (55%) falling under 35 years. Income levels were largely suppressed with majority of individuals (72%) and households (57%) earning below US$100."

The rate of usage of mobile telephony services in Zimbabwe "declined to 93% among household consumers from 99% recorded in the 2015 survey."

Among corporate consumers, there was a marked decline in the utilisation of mobile telephones, from 74% to 53% in the past three years.

In terms of usage of internet and data services, the survey noted an improvement from 29% to 34% among household consumers. This is in line with growing uptake of mobile internet services in the country.

"Internet and data services usage remains very high among corporate consumers to the level of 86% compared to 83% reported in 2015. MNOs were largely used by household consumers, Econet (72%) and NetOne (15%). Corporate consumers were skewed to ISPs and IAPs TelOne (35%), Liquid Telecom (15%) and ZOL (9%)."

The survey adds that "consumers were satisfied with the call success rate, SMS delivery and quality of services that utilise USSD offered" across all mobile telephone operators.

Topline Research Solutions, which carried out the survey, has recommended that MNOs in Zimbabwe monitor critical network parameters, such as network quality, network availability and voice quality to improve customer satisfaction.