Data, plastic money drive telcos revenue in FY17

HARARE,– 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.

The regulator noted that on mobile money usage, all the telecommunication service providers recorded growth in subscriptions. As at 31 January 2017 subscriptions stood at 4,706,778 from previous quarter’s 3,867,676 translating to a 21.7 percent increase. Econet had the lion’s share with 4,574,409 subscribers, Telecel 79,429 and NetOne 52,940 subscribers.

However, the postal and courier sector continues to record depressed service volumes with revenues declining by 9.3 percent compared to the prior quarter.

Telecel was the only operator to report a decline in subscriptions whereas Econet registered the highest growth, increasing by 4.9 percent from 7.137.171 recorded in prior year to 7.488.588 subscribers as at the end of the fourth quarter last year. Overall, active mobile subscriptions stood at 14,092,104, translating to a 2.1 percent increase from 13,799,648 recorded in the previous quarter.

Mobile penetration rate increased by 2.2 percent to reach 102.7 percent from 100.5 percent recorded in the previous quarter driven by the 2.1 percent growth in active subscriptions.

Econet ended the year with a market share of 53.1 percent, up from the 51.7 percent recorded in the previous quarter. On the other hand, NetOne and Telecel`s market shares declined by 0.1 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. – Source