Mobile phone penetration rate drops

Zimbabwe’s mobile penetration rate  dropped 9,8 percentage points in the first quarter of 2019 to 83,3 percent compared to the fourth quarter in 2018 as a result of the tough economic times, latest data from the telecommunications sector  regulator shows.

Cellphones became the biggest telecommunications tool in the last  decade, with Government and phone companies making strides to ensure that all  the corners of the country have coverage.

The growth in usage of mobile money has also helped drive the adoption of mobile phones.

According to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz), active mobile phone subscriptions were down to 12,1 million from 12,9 million during the period.

“The decline in active mobile subscriptions is reflective of the general depressed demand in the economy,” Potraz said.

The data show all the three mobile phone companies recorded a slide  in active subscribers during the period, with state owned Net One, at  -20,4 percent having suffered the biggest drop.

Telecel followed at -1,8 percent and Econet at -1,1 percent.

“A number of promotions were also modified in the quarter under  review; the reduction in benefits could also have led to a decline in  multi-SIM usage, thus negatively affecting the total active subscriber  base,” Potraz said.

Mobile voice traffic also fell to four percent to 1.404 billion  minutes while active internet subscriptions slid 3,3 percent to 8,4 million, resulting in a five percent drop in the internet penetration  rate.

During the period, Econet’s dominance continued with its market share  going up to 69,7 percent from 66,3 percent, Telecel marginally up to  8,9 percent from 8,5 while NetOne was down to 21,4 percent from 25,2 percent. —  New Ziana.

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