Source: Internet, data usage consistently increasing — Potraz | Sunday News (Business)
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has said internet and data usage in the country has been consistently increasing owing to a more digitalised economy.
This development comes at a time the internet penetration rate is expected to rise to 75,4 percent by 2025, as the Government moves to ensure improved access and usage of ICTs as part of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
According to the sector performance report for the third quarter 2022, Potraz director-general Dr Gift Machengete said the postal and telecommunication sector has continued to grow as more services move to the digital space, contributing to increased demand and consumption of telecommunication services.
“Internet and data usage has been consistently increasing owing to a more digitalised economy, with mobile internet data traffic totalling 32 473,1 terabytes in the third quarter of 2022, representing a 26.1 percent growth from 25 755,9 terabytes recorded in the previous quarter.”
He said the postal and telecommunication sector is expected to grow exponentially with increased adoption of ICTs, operator investment and innovation efforts, as well as the Authority’s efforts to close the digital divide.
Dr Machengete said the sector will continue enabling other sectors as envisioned in Government’s NDS1.
He added: “Prioritisation of the sector in terms of Government expenditure, power availability, protection against vandalism, resource mobilisation, foreign currency availability among other issues is pertinent.”
In terms of the total active mobile subscriptions, Dr Machengete said it increased by four percent to reach 14,5 million up from 14 million, hence, the mobile penetration rate increased by 3,6 percent to reach 95,9 percent from 92,3 percent.”
He said the total active internet and data subscriptions increased by 4,3 percent, while internet penetration rate increased by 2,6 percent to reach 63,9 percent from 61,3 percent in line with the growth in active subscriptions.
Dr Machengete added: “Total active fixed telephone lines increased by 2,8 percent. Hence, the fixed tele-density increased by 0,06 percent to reach 1,92 percent from1,86 percent. Used incoming international internet bandwidth capacity also increased by 4,3 percent.”
He said mobile voice traffic totalled 3,08 billion minutes and this represented a considerable 31,2 percent growth from 2,35 billion minutes recorded in the second quarter of 2022.
In terms of volumes, he said total postal and courier volumes increased by 4,5 percent to record 547 125 items from 523 342 items recorded in the second quarter of 2022.
Dr Machengete said: “The growth in total mail volumes experienced in the quarter under review comes after consecutive periods of persistent contraction. The growth could be a sign of recovery for the postal and courier sector.”
He said total mobile operator revenues grew by 103,9 percent to record ZWL$61,39 billion from ZWL$30,1 billion, while Internet Access Provider (IAP) revenues grew by 104,8 percent to record ZWL$30,86 billion from ZWL$15,07 billion.
Dr Machengete said total revenue generated by the postal and courier sector increased by 49,4 percent to record ZWL$3,9 billion from ZWL$2,6 billion.
Despite revenue growth, he said: “Total mobile operator operating costs grew by 97,1 percent to record ZWL$48,6 billion from ZWL$24,7 billion, while operating costs for IAPs grew by 52,9 percent to record ZWL$18,25 billion from ZWL$11,93 billion.
The postal and courier sector operating costs increased by 40,5 percent to record ZWL$2,9 billion from ZWL$2,08 billion. The increase in operating costs was less than revenue growth, across all markets.”
Meanwhile, in 2020, the internet penetration rate in Zimbabwe was 59,1 percent and the Government intends ramp up the penetration rate by over 15 percent in the next two years.
Further, the mobile penetration rate is expected to grow from 94,2 percent to 100 percent by 2025.
The Government has challenged the postal and telecommunication sector to contribute to the growth trajectory by expanding their networks to include the under-served areas and bringing in international bandwidth to achieve the targeted internet penetration rate.