Taurai Mangudhla Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S second largest mobile network NetOne registered a 2,9 percent slump in airtime revenues for the year ended December 2016 to $70,1 million down from $72,2 million.
Airtime revenues are mainly composed of voice revenues. Postpaid airtime revenues slid by 17,3 percent to close the year at $6,7 million compared to $8,1 million the previous year while prepaid airtime revenues also fell by 1,1 percent to $63,4 million, down from 64,1 million posted in 2015, according to NetOne’s 2016 audited annual report.
Revenue from data services grew by $5,4 million to close 2016 at $23,8 million, representing a 29,3 percent growth as the network’s $220 million network expansion drive pays dividends. NetOne acting chief executive officer Brian Mutandiro in early July said the expansion project is 98 percent complete and will be succeeded by yet another multimillion project to enhance the network’s capacity.
“NetOne has almost completed rolling its network expansion project. The project rolled out voice and data services riding on high speed 3G and ultra high-speed 4G platforms to all provinces of the country,” Mr Mutandiro said. Despite revenues growing by just under 0,9 percent to $115,2 million in the year under review, data services accounted for 20,7 percent, up from 16,1 percent in 2015.
The company reported a $2,7 million loss position at the end of 2016 compared to $2,6 million in losses the previous year. NetOne secured $219 million from the Chinese Export and Import Bank late 2014 for a network expansion project.
NetOne collected $17,4 million from interconnection fees, up from $14,7 million as subscriber numbers grew. NetOne reported a 1,7 percent growth in active subscribers in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the previous quarter to 4,8 million subscribers.
Roaming fees however slid significantly to $2,3 million from $7 million prior year while sim card sales also fell by close to 50 percent in the year under review to $638 000, down from $1,1 million in 2015.
Access fees were flat at $770 000 while revenues from NetOne’s mobile money platform OneWallet and electricity token commissions totalled $52 000, up from $17 000 prior year. NetOne said 2016 was a pivotal year for the company as the strategic transformation of the business was accelerated, setting the stage for a brand new chapter in the company’s development.
“Despite the constrained economic environment, NetOne was the only mobile network operator to register a revenue growth on prior year of 1 percent to end at $115 million in 2016 compared to $114 million in 2015.
“Notably all the other operators recorded revenue decline of varying magnitudes according to POTRAZ’s Report of 2016. This revenue performance was a direct result of a number of initiatives put in place by management to drive business growth, mainly the offering of customer centric products, broadening the product and service offering and realigning of existing products whilst driving subscriber acquisition. One such initiative, was the introduction of OneFusion in May 2016, whose uptake has been on the upward trend since launch,”NetOne said
“The business will continue to introduce disruptive customer centric products in order to drive revenue growth and subscriber acquisition and retention,” the company added.