THE total number of subscribers in Zimbabwe’s telecommunication sector grew by 2,6% to 11,4 million for the second quarter of 2014 from 11,1 million active subscribers in the prior year as the industry continues defying economic headwinds.
In its latest report, the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) — the regulator of the domestic sector — Econet maintained its pole position recording a 2,1% growth to 6,5 million active subscribers.
NetOne recorded a 13,8% increase to 2,7 million subscribers in the period under review from 2,4 million over the same period in 2013 and Telecel recorded a decrease of 7,4% to 2,2 million subscribers from 2,4 million in 2013.
“Prepaid subscriptions constituted 97,5% of total active subscriptions. Telecel was the only mobile operator to register a decline in active subscriptions whereas NetOne registered the largest growth in active subscriptions to 13,8%. Telecel active subscription has shown a declining trend,” Potraz said.
An active mobile subscriber is defined as a subscriber who has used the network at least once in the last three months for making or receiving a call or carrying out a non-voice activity such as sending or receiving an SMS or accessing the Internet.
According to the report 36,4% of total subscribers from Telecel were inactive during the period under review.
In the period under review, Econet had a total of 8,9 million subscribers, but only 6,5 million subscribers were active. While Telecel has a total of 4,8 million subscribers, 2,2 million subscribers were active and of NetOne’s 4,3 million subscribers, 2,7 million were active.
“Due to the decline in active subscriptions Telecel lost market share by 2,1% to reach 19,5% from 21,6% market share recorded in the second quarter of 2014. As a result, Telecel had the least market share in the 3rd quarter of 2014,” Potraz said.
Short Message Service(SMS) registered a decline in the quarter under review.
According to the report, cross-network traffic declined by 9,8% whereas net-on-net SMS fell by 0,2% due to the increased use of quick messaging platforms such as WhatsApp.
Net-on-net traffic declined by 8,8% despite the numerous on-net promotions on the market.
Outbound roaming traffic also declined by 9,8%.
The report said a comparison with the interconnection traffic for the mobile operators in the previous quarter shows that Econet gained market share by 3,2%. On the other hand, Telecel and NetOne lost market share by 1,8% and 1,4% respectively.