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Zimbabwe records drop in internet subscriptions

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Zimbabwe , 10 Jun 2020

There has been a 2.5% decline in active internet subscriptions in Zimbabwe - despite growth in the mobile penetration rate to above 90%, according to a new telecommunications industry report released on 10 June 2020.

Rhe Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) sector performance report for Q1 2019 shows the total number of active mobile subscriptions increased by 4% to reach 13,724,522 by the end of the period under review.

This was boosted by subscriber growth on networks operated by Econet and NetOne, while Telecel Zimbabwe lost subscribers owing to base station unavailability due to power outages.

Despite the growth in subscriber numbers, active internet subscriptions for Q1 2020 dropped by 2.5% and the country now has 8.6 million active internet subscribers.

“Active internet and data subscriptions also declined by 2.5% to record 8,614,009 from 8,836,299. As a result, the internet penetration rate declined by 0.7% to reach 59.1% from 60.6%,” noted the report.

Voice traffic for the mobile network operators also declined by 4.7% to 1.3 billion minutes. However, despite the decline in active voice minutes and active internet subscriptions, there was an increase in mobile internet and data traffic to 6.6TB against 6.4TB in the previous period.

“Revenue generated by the mobile telephone networks grew by 26.2% to record ZWL2.1 billion from $1.65 billion. At the same time, mobile network operating costs grew by 46.1% to record $1.4 billion from $988.2 million,” Potraz added.

It is assumed the COVID-19 lockdown helped to push up mobile internet subscriptions and data usage as most companies equipped key employees to work remotely.

Movement restrictions would also have forced many Zimbabweans to increase their use of social media and other online platforms.

As at the end of the period under review, mobile internet connectivity accounted for 8.4 million of the 8.6 million total internet subscriptions.

Potraz also highlights that in-bundle browsing accounts for 91.8% of all internet usage in Zimbabwe while out of bundle browsing constitutes 8.2%.

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