Zimbabwe telecoms revenue tops $1bn driven by demand for data

16 March 2018 | James Pearce


The Zimbabwean telecoms market is worth more than $1 billion according to figures from the African nation’s regulator.

Total postal and telecommunication revenue grew 11.2% to $1.15 billion in 2015, driven by a rise in the consumption of data, according to a report from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz).

The majority of this revenue was made up of mobile operators, which increased 17.6% year on year to reach $849.8 million in 2017. Mobile subscriptions grew 42.5%, reaching 4.7 million by the end of 2017.

Mobile data almost doubled, growing 89.8% to 15.4 billion megabytes, Portraz said. There was a 46% rise in installed incoming international bandwidth, the regulator’s figures show.

It wasn’t all good news for the sector, however, as voice traffic continued to decline. Minutes fell 5.7% to 4.4 billion by the end of 2017

“The revenue had been going down for four years and obviously we indicated it was because of a decline in voice traffic, but as we are getting used to OTT services in the sector, we see now the improvements in terms of revenue which is now starting to go up,” he said.

“We also hope that with ICT innovations coming we might have some innovations which may actually assist and make this increase, upward trend in revenue go even higher. But, that growth is attributed to the growth of mobile internet and data usage as well as mobile money.”

Econet Wireless, which owns Liquid Telecom, continued to grow its revenue market share, which reached 84.2% in Q4 2017 – up from 81.6% in the previous quarter. Econet has around a 53.1% share of the market, where it competes with state-owned NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe.

The report showed Econet maintaining its strong market leadership in mobile internet and data usage, exiting Q4 at 64.6% market share, while NetOne recorded a 29.2% market share. Telecel ended the quarter at 6.2% share of the internet and data usage market.