Mobile telcos bank on data

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HARARE – Increased data utilisation drove both mobile telecommunication firms revenues up during the third quarter of last year, the latest Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) sector report shows

But Zimbabwe’s internet penetration was flat during the period under review

According to POTRAZ, mobile data utilisation in the country rose by 16, 1 percent to record 2 157 903 415 megabytes (MB) (or 1 771, 9 terabytes) from 1 857 944 258MB (or 2 057, 9TB) recorded in the prior quarter.

The growth in data usage saw the three mobile operators generate a total of $194, 5 million during the quarter under review, a 20, 4 percent increase from $161, 5 million previously.

Both mobile telcos and internet service providers (ISPS) post combined revenues of $262 million during the third quarter – a 14, 5 percent bump.

“As demand for data keeps increasing, the revenues of the internet providers are expected to continue improving.

“The increase in mobile revenues despite the decline in subscriptions and voice traffic was surprising. The increase was spurred by growth in data usage. The discontinuation of a number of promotions also contributed to the increase in mobile revenues.

“The growth of mobile and IAP revenues led to a 14, 5 percent increase in total telecommunication revenues to record $262 million from $228, 7 million recorded in the previous quarter,” said POTRAZ.

“Going forward, industry growth will largely be driven by internet and data services while voice telephony may continue to decline in terms of usage volumes.

“The levels of competition in the various service markets remained the same with Econet expected to maintain its dominance in the mobile cellular market in terms of subscriptions, revenue and usage traffic. Liquid also maintained dominance in the IAP space in terms of usage and revenues.”

Notwithstanding the increased usage of data on both mobile and ISP platforms, Zimbabwe’s internet penetration was unchanged at 50, 1 percent from the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, with the numbers from the fourth quarter of 2016 yet to be released, the sector regulator has projected that data utilisation for last year could double that of 2015.

“2016 total data usage is likely to double that 2015. The total mobile data usage for the first 9 months of 2016 was 5 526 267 265MB (or 5 525, 3TB) and has already exceeded 3 622 860 182MB (or 3 682, 9TB) used in 2015,” said POTRAZ.

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