Zimbabwe’s telecoms now a billion dollar industry


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Zimbabwe’s mobile telecoms sector revenue for 2017 increased 17.6 percent to $849.49 million compared to $722.93 million in 2016 largely driven by adoption of plastic money and higher uptake in data, the latest report by the regulator showed.

“Big leaps in active mobile money subscriptions were experienced in 2017. Mobile money provided an effective alternative to cash for making payments in the midst of the liquidity crisis,” said the Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) in the annual sector performance review for 2017.

Total number of active mobile money subscriptions increased by 42.5 percent to reach 4 706 778 in 2017 from 3 303 188 recorded in 2016.

Operating costs also increased by 4.7 percent to $527.34 million from $503.44 million in 2016 while investments fell by 46.3 percent to record $100.9 million from $187.7 million invested in 2016.

Overall, the telecommunications sector revenue increased by 11.2 percent to record $1 109 899 246 from $998 094 747 recorded in 2016.

Revenues by IAPs registered the biggest growth rate of 17.8 percent to $186 843 531 from $158 565 855 recorded in 2016.

POTRAZ said the growth in telecommunications revenue is attributed to the upsurge in the consumption of data and internet in the country.

According to the POTRAZ’s sector performance for the fourth quarter of last year, total revenue for the three mobile operators in the country increased by 15.6 percent to $259 711 601 from $224 759 544 recorded in the previous quarter.

Average revenue per user per month increased by 9.5 percent to $4.83 from $4.41 recorded in the third quarter of 2017.

The average cost per user per month also increased by 4.8 percent to $2.34 from $2.31 recorded in the prior quarter.

Total mobile investment however declined by 74.1 percent to $8.2 million from $31.7 million realised in the previous quarter.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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