ZIMBABWE’s telecoms regulator says the sector’s revenue declined by 11% to US$237,7 million in the first quarter of 2016.
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) said the sector has not been spared the effects of diminishing consumer spending power in the economy, with revenue and investment declining across all subsectors.
Zimbabwe has three mobile operators — Econet Wireless, NetOne and Telecel — as well as fixed line operator, TelOne.
Mobile network operators’ revenue was 12% lower at US$167,7 million as voice traffic declined due to rising use of internet based over-the-top services.
Total national voice traffic declined by 15,3% in the quarter to March.
“OTT voice applications such as Viber, Skype and WhatsApp calling have become popular alternatives for international calling as they are significantly cheaper; this has resulted in falling international voice traffic and in turn falling revenue from international voice services,” said Potraz in its latest quarterly report.
The total number of mobile subscriptions in the country declined by 2,5% to 18,9 million while the mobile penetration rate increased from 95,4% to 96,5% .
Mobile data utilisation increased by 25,5% with all the mobile operators experiencing an increase in the number of data used.
Data usage more than doubled from 750,1 terabytes in the first quarter last year to , 1 510,4 terabytes this year.
“The demand for internet has been on an upward trajectory and the amount of megabytes consumed is constantly increasing,” said Potraz.
Fixed telephone voice revenues declined by 13% from US$35,3 million to US$30,6 million on the back of falling fixed voice traffic. Average Revenue per User (ARPU) decreased by 13% to US$30,58.
Revenues generated by Internet Access Providers (IAPs) also declined, going down by 8,9% from US$43,2 million to US$39,4 million. During the quarter IAPs invested US$6,6 million compared to US$28,4 million in the previous quarter.