NetOne expands in digital innovation

BY STAFF WRITER

STATE-owned telecommunications firm, NetOne has invested in data-driven digital innovation to capture youthful subscribers, an official said.

NetOne head of marketing and public relations, Dennis Chagonda said the new thrust comes at a time when young people constitute over 70% of the mobile operator’s subscribers.

“The area that we are excited about is data use and you will realise that we have more young people sitting on the NetOne database.

“We have over 70% of our customers being mainly youths and this excites us as it means renewed trust in the network,” Chagonda said.

According to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulation Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) fourth quarter report for 2020, NetOne’s subscribers base grew by 6,8% to 3 691 314 users up from 3 455 277 the previous quarter.

Technically, this means over 2,4 million of its subscribers are youths.

Chagonda said to effectively tap into the youthful market, data enhancement and optimisation was key.

“So, we are capacitating ourselves to make sure that we serve this special segment or group of people. Remember they are in school. They are learning. They are using it (data) for different things and uses. They need to experience it at the best of speed.

“Data is best experienced when it is working and not when it is not working. So, network enhancement and optimisation is a key priority for us, as we go forward,”  he said.

Chagonda could not be drawn into disclosing what data optimisation speed the operator is targeting.

He highlighted that NetOne had since launched several initiatives to complement its data packages.

The State-owned operator partnered media practitioners and provided a 10 gigabytes free data package for local journalists for the next six months.

NetOne recently launched OneTV, an online digital entertainment platform.

The telecoms operator also recently launched an album featuring various artists.

“We will do this going into the future with more people. We just started with a smaller number.

“So, you will see more work around innovative services on voice, data and digital involvement,” said Chagonda.

The telecommunications sector has recorded marginal growth in internet and data subscriptions powered by a heavy reliance on interaction limited to online platforms as a result of the Covid-19 induced lockdown.

Active internet and data subscriptions grew by 1,7% to reach 8 875 649 from 8 726 904 recorded in the previous quarter.

As a result, internet penetration rate increased to 60,9% from 59,9% while the total number of active mobile subscriptions increased to 13 191 708 from 12 783 785.

The mobile penetration rate increased by 2,8% to reach 90,5% from 87,7%  in the period under review.