Mobile telecom firms expand LTE network
Oliver Kazunga Senior Business Reporter
Zimbabwe’s telecommunication firms are drifting away from older-generation mobile technology in favour of faster fourth-generation wireless technology, which offers high capacity, faster download and upload speeds, according to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ).
In its second-quarter report, POTRAZ, which regulates Zimbabwe’s telecommunications industry said mobile phone companies deployed more LTE, also known as 4G, which allows download speeds faster than those of 2G and 3G technologies.
“A total of 363 new base stations were deployed in the second quarter of 2023, as compared to 86 base stations deployed in the first quarter,” said POTRAZ. “As the world moves towards faster technologies, the sector has been moving away from deployment of 2G and 3G technologies in favour of LTE which offers high capacity, and faster download and upload speeds. This is evidenced by 243 LTE deployments made in the quarter under review by mobile network operators.”
POTRAZ said after the deployment 363 new base stations during the second quarter, Zimbabwe now has 5 000 mobile base stations.
In terms of base stations market share, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe commands 54.3 percent through 2G technology, NetOne, the State-owned mobile network operator with 32,4 percent while Telecel Zimbabwe controls 13,3 percent.
In terms of 3G technology, Econet’s base stations had a market share of 51,3 percent infrastructure, NetOne, 35,9 percent and Telecel, 12,8 percent.
On LTE technology, Econet commands 54,9 percent of the market share followed by NetOne at 44,2 percent and Telecel at 0,9 percent. Econet is the only mobile network operator with 5G infrastructure. Telecel is lagging in the deployment of Next Generation Networks, with only 1 percent market share of LTE deployments.
During the quarter, Zimbabwe’s active mobile phone subscribers declined by 0,7 percent to 13,9 million. Active mobile phone subscribers were 14 million.
Zimbabwe has three mobile network operators namely Econet, which is the country’s largest mobile network operator followed by NetOne and Telecel respectively.
During the quarter, Econet had 10 million up from 9,9 million in the first quarter of the year while NetOne’s subscriber base declined by 5,2 percent to 3,55 million.
Telecel had 307 534 subscribers as at June 2023 down from 307 795 in the first quarter to March.
Econet gained subscriber market share by 1,2 percent whlie NetOne lost its market share by the same margin. Telecel’s share remained unchanged in the second quarter of 2023.