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Telecoms revenues drop 12%

by Business Reporter
11 Aug 2016 at 02:12hrs | Views
Zimbabwe's mobile telecommunication services providers saw their revenues for the first quarter of this year decline 12 percent, latest Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) figures show.

During the quarter, Econet, NetOne and Telecel all posted declines in their revenues.

The telcos generated a total of $167, 7 million during the first quarter of 2016, which is a 12,3 percent decline from the $191,1 million recorded in the prior comparable period.

The regulatory body attributed the decline to the increased utilisation of over-the-top (OTT) services by users, as well as a generally challenging economy that has constrained spending power.

"Mobile revenues have been declining due to the substitution of traditional mobile services with Over-the-Top services as well as the general economic environment," said Potraz.

"OTT voice applications such as Viber, Skype and WhatsApp calling have become popular alternatives for international calling as they are significantly cheaper; this has resulted in falling international voice traffic and in turn falling revenue from international voice services."

The increasing impact of OTT services is indicated in an analysis which shows that during the period under review, national voice traffic declined by 15,3 percent to record 1 billion minutes from 1,2 billion minutes recorded in the previous quarter.

At the same time, international incoming and outgoing traffic declined by 16,5 percent and 13,8 percent, respectively.

And due to the impact of OTT services, Potraz noted a jump in mobile data utilisation by 25,5 percent during the period to 1 510 379 839MB from 1 203 378 839MB in the quarter ended December 31, 2015.

The statistics show that although Econet lost 1 percent market share during the quarter, it still held the majority at 53,3 percent, followed by NetOne with 32,1 percent and Telecel with 14,6 percent.

NetOne was the only operator to gain market share of base stations as they commissioned the highest number of base stations.

Notwithstanding the ongoing debate about infrastructure sharing, Potraz says the total number of base stations in the country increased by 6,5 percent to 6 720 from 6 311 in the prior quarter.

"The total number of LTE eNodeBs (eNBs) ('base stations') in the country increased from 312 to 326 as NetOne commissioned 14 new LTE eNBs in the quarter under review," noted the regulator.

Further analysis shows that the total number of base stations in urban areas stood at 1 940 versus  4 780 base stations in urban areas. And a comparison with the fourth quarter figures shows that base stations in rural areas increased by 11 percent from 1 748 to reach 1 940 base stations (although the increase was mostly in 2G technology).

Source - BH24