Africa Moyo Senior Business Reporter
STATE-OWNED mobile communications firm, NetOne, recorded the biggest growth rate of 32,7 percent on its mobile money platform, OneMoney in the fourth quarter of last year.
OneMoney, which has been battling for acceptance by the market since launch about one and half years ago, saw subscriptions rising to 241 566 in Q4 2018, up from 181 990, according to statistics released by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe on Wednesday.
Its competitors, Telecash and Ecocash, recorded growth rates of 1 percent and 0,7 percent respectively.
Ecocash, which has operated literally uncontested for a long time, had 6 057 594 subscribers while Telecash, the first to launch a Zimswitch enabled card for transactions, had 53 392 subscribers by Q4 last year.
Reads the Q4 telecommunications sector performance report; “. . . all the mobile networks recorded growth in active mobile money subscriptions with OneMoney recording the highest growth rate of 32,7 percent.
“An annual comparison of total active mobile money subscriptions shows a 35 percent growth from 4 706 778, recorded as at December 31, 2017.”
Similarly, OneMoney grew mobile money agents in the period under review by 18,1 percent, the biggest in Q4, to 15 002 while Ecocash grew its agents base by 5,4 percent to 26 529, and Telecash trailed again, after losing 11,5 percent of agents to 486.
Potraz attributes the decline in Telecash’s active agents to the liquidity challenges in the economy as cash float is required by agents to facilitate transactions.
However, Ecocash continues to enjoy the lion’s share of the market of active mobile money subscriptions at 95,4 percent; OneMoney (3,8 percent) and Telecash 0,8 percent.
NetOne believes the growth of OneMoney could be related to the benefits associated with using the platform, which include and a Zimswitch-enabled debit card.
The debit card is strengthened by the ability to shift money to and from banks on the ZimSwitch platform.
Further, OneMoney subscribers can purchase and make payments for utilities such as ZESA prepaid electricity and municipality rates.
NetOne chief executive officer Lazarus Muchenje told The Herald Business yesterday that OneMoney was on the rise.
“OneMoney is on a positive trajectory evidenced by the recently released Potraz report for the last quarter of 2018. The growth has been cemented by our increased network coverage to previously marginalised areas, allowing subscribers an opportunity to transact using OneMoney. As we build on the growth, 2019 will be a year that our subscribers enjoy additional services through the OneMoney platform,” said Mr Muchenje.
In terms of active mobile subscriptions for voice, NetOne saw a 5,2 percent jump to 3 256 592 while Econet subscribers grew by 1,9 percent to 8,552 289 and Telecel lost 12,3 percent of its subscribers to 1 100 111.