By Enacy Mapakame
Zimbabwe’s mobile operators have continued on a growth trajectory with 2018 second quarter revenue increasing by 19,7 percent to $292,9 million compared to the previous quarter on growth across the board. Figures from regulator, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) show that mobile internet, data traffic, mobile money and mobile voice traffic experienced growth during the quarter under review.
Voice and mobile money accounted for 41,5 percent and 27,2 percent, respectively, of the total revenue achieved during the quarter.
Mobile data contributed 20 percent while the rest of other services accounted for the remainder. However, the contribution of voice and SMS declined by 3,5 percent and 0,4 percent respectively.
On the other hand, the revenue contribution of data, mobile money and other value added services (VAS) increased by 0,7 percent 1,9 percent and 0,2 percent, respectively.
Lately, voice and SMS revenues have been falling while growth has been recorded in data as subscribers shift from voice to internet based calls such as WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook calling. Internet and data revenue is expected to continue on a growth trajectory.
“In the near future, growth in the use of Internet of Things (IOTs) applications will take centre stage, driven by consumer appetite for digital solutions that are convenient and affordable. Such solutions will revolve around mobile payments such as payment of utility bills, parking fees and the increased use of plastic money as well as mobile banking,” said Potraz in the 2018 second quarter sector performance report.
During the period under review, operators embarked on cost containment measures. This resulted in a 28,2 percent reduction in operating costs to $133 million compared to $185 million recorded in the previous quarter.
“Volumes of mobile money payments are expected to maintain an upward trend due to the significant increase in the number of financial services offered on mobile money platforms. Mobile money will continue to play a key role of bridging the financial divide by providing safe, secure, convenient and cheap financial services in areas where many Zimbabweans have no access to formal banking systems,” said Potraz.
Overall, the telecoms sector is expected to remain firm, spurred by the anticipated growth in mobile money as well as data and internet services.