Zimbabwe’s economic woes batters telecommunications sector

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s postal and telecommunications sector is facing challenges due to the country’s volatile economic situation, including high inflation and an unstable local currency, according to a report by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz).

Although the sector recorded an increase in total revenue in the first quarter of 2023, operational costs were also high. Total revenue increased by 23.5 percent, reaching ZWL 5.74 billion, while operating costs increased by 28 percent, reaching ZWL 5.45 billion.

Potraz attributed these cost increases to the inflationary operating environment in the country, along with challenges such as limited credit availability, reduced consumer spending, and inadequate foreign currency. Unstable electricity supply, including prolonged load shedding, has also affected the sector’s performance and increased the cost of service provision.

The regulator highlighted the reliance on imports for telecommunications equipment, software, and bandwidth, which has been hampered by inadequate foreign currency.

Potraz called on the government to prioritize the sector by allocating government expenditure, mobilizing resources, and providing foreign currency to enable it to operate at its full capacity.

The report also noted a 16 percent decrease in mobile voice traffic in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the previous quarter, indicating a decline in usage.

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