STATE-OWNED mobile phone company NetOne recorded a growth in active mobile subscriptions in the first quarter of 2017, while its two rivals, Telecel and Econet, were either stagnant or declined in terms of subscribers, according to the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz).
BY BUSINESS REPORTER
According to Potraz’s report for the first quarter which was released yesterday, NetOne’s prepaid subscribers grew by 1,9% from 4 674 277 in the last quarter of 2016 to 4 761 156 million this year.
The company’s post-paid subscribers increased by 6,5% from 38 133 to 40 606.
Econet’s prepaid subscriptions registered a 0,5% growth from 6 259 807 in the 2016 Q4 to 6 289 980.
However, Econet’s post-paid subscribers decreased by 0,8% to 100 252 from 101 097.
Telecel’s prepaid subscribers declined by 1,3% to 1 766 995 from 1 789 407 registered in the fourth quarter of last year.
But Telecel registered a massive growth in post-paid subscribers of 13,1% to 18 326 from the previous quarter’s of 16 205.
“Active mobile subscriptions totalled 12 977 315 in the quarter under review. This represents a 0,8% increase from 12 878 000 recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016,” Potraz said.
The regulatory body said pre-paid subscribers were predominant in Africa, as they allowed consumers to buy airtime in small increments as and when needed, thus giving consumers control over expenditure.
Potraz said the total number of active fixed telephone subscribers as at March 31 this year was 257 626 compared to 305 720 the previous quarters, representing 15,7% decline.
Both NetOne and Econet registered significant growth in Long-Term Evolution (LTE), a high speed wireless access.
NetOne registered a 65,3% growth in LTE from 1 310 in the previous quarter to the current
Econet’s LTE access, on the other hand, grew by 28% from 210 256 to 269 087.
“LTE is expected to increase as coverage and smartphone penetration increases,” the regulatory body said.
Overall, NetOne’s growth was underpinned by a direct result of a number of initiatives put in place to drive business growth, mainly the offering of customer-centric products, broadening the product and service offering and the realising of existing products, while driving subscriber acquisition.
The initiatives include OneFusion introduced in May last year, offering on-net and off-net voice calls, international calls, messages, data, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.
NetOne has also embarked on an ambitious project, where it recruited 20 000 brand ambassadors who are aggressively registering new subscribers, replacing lines, number matching as well as marketing and selling NetOne products.