Latest Potraz report shows Econet leading in mobile data and voice traffic  

The report, which was released last week, showed that Econet did better than its peers in the key performance categories of mobile internet and data usage, as well as in mobile voice usage.   

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz)’s sector performance report for the 3rd quarter of 2023 has revealed that Econet Wireless Zimbabwe extended its market leadership in the local mobile telecommunications sector dominated by three main players: Econet, NetOne and Telecel. 

The report, which was released last week, showed that Econet did better than its peers in the key performance categories of mobile internet and data usage, as well as in mobile voice usage.   

It revealed that Econet increased its mobile internet and data market share by 6.3%, from 72.0% in Q2 to 78.3% in Q3. This followed a 15.5% surge in the company’s mobile internet and data traffic to 34 985 422 241 Megabytes (MB) in the third quarter, up from 30 299 361 678 MB in the previous quarter.

“NetOne recorded a decline in internet and data traffic by a margin of 18.9%. Despite the decline by NetOne, total Internet and Data traffic for mobile network operators increased significantly by 6.2%, owing to a 15.5% growth in traffic by Econet. Telecel also experienced a huge jump in Internet traffic,” read the report.

Potraz said overall mobile internet and data traffic increased by 6.2% to record 44,67 Petabytes in the third quarter, from 42,06 Petabytes recorded in the second quarter of 2023. (A Petabyte is about 1 million Megabytes).

In the mobile voice traffic category, Econet increased its market share by 4.3% in the 3rd quarter to 82.9%, while NetOne lost market share by the same margin, to exit the 3rd quarter at 16.9%. Telecel maintained its voice traffic market share at 0.2%.

Potraz noted that mobile voice traffic grew significantly, by 30.0%, to record 3.29 billion minutes in the 3rd quarter, up from 2.53 billion minutes recorded in the second quarter of 2023.

“The sector realised growth in mobile voice traffic in the third quarter of 2023. This may be attributed to an eroded voice tariff which fluctuated around USD 0.01 (One USD cent) for on-net calls throughout the quarter,” said Potraz. 

“On-net bundles and promotions by operators also played a big role in the significant growth in traffic, which resulted in a 37.5% surge in net-on-net traffic, which is without doubt the major traffic growth driver in the quarter under review.”

The regulator added that the total number of active mobile telephone subscriptions grew by a margin of 6.0% to reach 14 794 579 as of 30 September 2023, up from 13 955 937 recorded in the second quarter. 

“As a result, the mobile penetration rate hiked to 97.5% from 91.9% recorded in the second quarter of the year,” said Potraz.

In the period under review, Econet saw its subscribers rise to 10 319 991, from 10 094 328 in the second quarter (a 2.6% drop in customer market share), while NetOne subscriber numbers went up from 3 554 075 in the previous quarter to 4 171 224 in the 3rd quarter (a 2.7% increase). 

Telecel was, however, the only mobile network operator to register negative growth in subscribers, with the company’s subscriber numbers falling by 1.4% to 303 364 in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, mobile network operators generated $850.8 billion in the third quarter of 2023, up from $435.7 billion recorded in the previous quarter. This translates to a 95.3% revenue growth in the quarter under review. 

On the other hand, mobile network operators incurred $430 billion in costs, up from $215.8 billion incurred in the previous quarter, translating to a 99.3% increase in total operating costs. 

The telecommunications regulator noted that total capital expenditure by mobile network operators grew by 27.1%, from $26.7 billion in Q2 to $33.9 billion in the 3rd quarter.

“However, in real terms, revenues, operating costs and capital expenditure did not increase by the same margins due to the inflationary operating environment which has not spared any sector of the economy. This continues to stifle investment in infrastructure as evidenced by a decline in new terrestrial deployments in the quarter under review,” added the regulator.


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