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Data usage drops, revenues dip for Zim mobile operators

Data usage drops, revenues dip for Zim mobile operators

Despite a 3.6% increase in active internet subscriptions to 7.2 million and the subsequent rise in the internet penetration rate to 52.1%, mobile data usage in Zimbabwe decreased by 0.18% in Q1 2018 and the number of mobile subscriber numbers declined by 16.8% to 11.7 million.

This is according to Gift Machengete, Director General of the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz), who commented on the latest quarterly report released by the organisation.

According to the report, locals used 5.220TB of mobile data during the period under review, while the used international incoming bandwidth capacity increased by 17% to 56,242 Mbps.

"Revenues by mobile operators decreased by 5.8% to record US$244.7 million in the first quarter 2018. Data and internet services contributed more to total fixed revenue than voice services," stated the regulator.

Mobile internet continues to drive data usage in the Southern African country, where mobile operators Econet Wireless, NetOne and Telecel continue to dominate the market. There are also a host of Internet Service Providers such as Dandemutande, ZOL and Powertel among others.

Although the fixed phone category has been witnessing growing pressure from alternative and emerging alternatives, during the quarter TelOne, the country's fixed phone operator raised user numbers by a nominal 0.35% to 259 438.

Officials are enforcing an infrastructure sharing framework for telcos in a bid to extend telecoms infrastructure development and services to under-served and remote regions.

This has been met with some opposition. Econet Wireless CEO Douglas Mboweni said this sharing, especially with towers, needs to be done on a one-on-one basis where equipment is shared equally.

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