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Zimbabwe pins hope on telecommunications growth

By , Zimbabwe correspondent
Zimbabwe , 21 Sep 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures put in place in Zimbabwe has highlighted the significance of telecommunications with official statistics from the country’s industry regulator reflecting an increase in mobile internet and data.

A report by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz), released last week, noted a 56.2% growth in mobile internet and data traffic in Q2 2020.

The report added that used International Internet Bandwidth Capacity edged up by 2,8% compared to the previous quarter.

Potraz believes the growth will continue because of increased adoption of e-learning, telecommuting and e-conferencing.

Consumers have also substituted voice services with cheaper Over-the-Top (OTT) services.

ICT analyst Brighton Musonza believes COVID-19 is actually a blessing in disguise for the global technology sector. “With people stuck at home for months, telecoms must have gained from those working remotely and those posting on social media. The telecoms sector had an advantage in that under the various lockdown levels, it could continue to operate.”

According to Potraz COVID-19 has demonstrated the critical importance that telecommunications infrastructure plays in keeping businesses, governments, and societies connected and operational.

“The sector has been critical in keeping the economy running under the lockdown by providing business-critical connectivity and resilience, facilitating work-from-home arrangements, e-banking, e-commerce and keeping individuals and societies connected and informed, with access to essential services during mandated social isolation. As a result, many telecom players providing broadband have benefited from a surge in the traffic of data,” the regulator stated.

Although there was growth, active internet subscriptions remained subdued in the quarter under review resulting in a 2,4% decline in internet penetration rate. “COVID-19 had a direct impact on the operations of both the formal and informal sector, thus negatively affecting real disposable incomes,” Potraz added.

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