Econet registers 8 percent growth in data users

HARARE – Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) listed telecoms giant Econet Wireless registered an 8 percent growth  in active data users to 4,5 million in the year ended February 2022.

“The need for data connectivity continued to grow and this resulted in Econet active data customer’s growth of 8 percent compared to prior year. In 2021 active 30 days customers averaged 4,3 million and in 2022 customers averaged 4,5 million in December, being the peak,” the company said.

This comes as the way of life has changed for many people following the advent of Covid-19, which virtualised many activities, now regarded as the new normal.

However, voice revenue remains a strong pillar of the business, contributing over 40 percent of total service revenue during the period under review. Revenue from voice for the financial year ending February 2022 grew by 46 percent over prior year.

Growth was driven by effective customer value management (CVM) initiatives in the lower affordability segments through bundle offers as well as upward momentum in customer activity which grew by 4% from 6,6 million to 6,86 million monthly voice customers.

“All initiatives implemented were informed by strong data analytics as well as intelligent product recommendation engines. 

“Going forward, analytics, prediction models and overlay services will be key to manage the headwinds on circuit switched voice arising from customer behaviour shifts brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the OTT services.

“We are also following the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association’s discussion with European policy makers on the need for OTT players to share costs of infrastructure investment,” said Econet.

According to Econet, such customer growth was driven by various customer management initiatives that included use of predictive analytics to reduce churn and frequency management campaigns.

With the introduction of the Smart Kambudzi device, smartphone penetration went up by 2,6 percent to 63 percent, which also helped in increasing the data active customers per day to 2,56 million at December 2021 peak.

The device strategy also increased the 4G devices on the Econet network by 46 percent to close the year at 1,2 million 4G capable devices.

Econet addec that, “Our Digital Lifestyle Network positioning blended well with this environment and in 2021 we managed to increase data usage by 48 percent driven by data packages such as Private Wi-Fi Bundles, E-Learning Bundles, weekend hourly bundles and the affordable smartphones which addressed the needs of the Zimbabwean customers.”

Introduction of reverse billing in the financial year saw more corporate customers joining the Econet network, with over 30 corporates signed up to date. These have contributed to the growth of data usage in Zimbabwe.

The net effect of these initiatives was a strong performance as usage averaged 4,2 petabytes per month whilst data revenue closed the year at 64 percent above prior year 2021.

In the coming year, the telecoms giant said more focus will be on growing customer numbers to 4,7 million through introduction of Gaming bundles, WhatsApp calling and value segmented propositions. – Herald

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