By Bernard Mpofu, HARARE, April 14 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s mobile phone operators have registered an 18 percent decline in revenue to $907 million in the full year to December compared to the same period in 2013, as voice traffic continues to dip amid growth in non-voice platform usage, a report by the industry regulator has shown.
The Post and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe telecoms report for the quarter ending December, mobile network operators generated a total of $907,380,585 in 2014 from $1,104,792,925 in prior year.
On a quarterly basis, revenue fell by 11,3 percent from $247,8 million generated in the preceding quarter after the largest operator Econet and Telecel recorded declining subscriber numbers.
State-owned mobile phone operator NetOne was the only firm that grew its revenues buoyed by more investment in to the business.
“Econet lost 20,519 subscribers in the quarter under review; Telecel lost 71,576 subscribers whereas NetOne gained 486,959 subscribers in the quarter under review. Whilst this is the only quarter in 2014 in which Econet experienced a decline in active subscribers, Telecel`s subscriber base has been declining consecutively,” said Potraz in the report.
The country`s active mobile subscriber base grew by 3.5 percent to reach 11.8 million from 11.4 million subscribers recorded in the previous quarter. As a result the mobile penetration rate (active) increased from 87.3 percent recorded in the previous quarter to 90.3 percent, Potraz said.
Total voice traffic processed by the mobile networks in the fourth quarter of 2014 was 1,727,202,925 minutes. This represents a four percent decline from 1,779,062,306 minutes processed in the previous quarter. An annual comparison shows that total mobile voice traffic declined by 2.1 percent to record 7.06 billion minutes from 7.21 billion minutes recorded in 2013.
The total number of mobile money transfer subscriptions grew by 7.3 percent to reach 5.3 million from 4.9 million subscribers recorded in the previous quarter.
“ The total value of transfers and transaction on mobile money services increased by 10.6% to record $445.7 million from $403.1 million recorded in the previous quarter. The number of agents also increased 13.7% to reach 23,379 from 20,569 agents recorded in the previous quarter,” said Potraz in the report.
Voice revenue generated by fixed telephone network TelOne in the fourth quarter of 2014 was up 11,2 percent to $44,4 million compared to the same period in 2013 driven by investment into the sector.
“TelOne invested $6,9 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 and a total of $10,1 million in the whole of 2014. A comparison with 2013 investment figures shows a 33.7 percent growth in investment from $7,5 million invested in 2013,” said Potraz.