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Competition for Zimbabwe's internet, data providers tightens

by Staff reporter
16 Jun 2024 at 04:21hrs | Views
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) reported a significant influx of licence applications during the first quarter of the year under the converged licensing regime. This surge coincided with the licensing of Starlink, a US-based internet service provider set to launch operations soon, aiming to offer competitive pricing and reliable service amid dissatisfaction with local providers' high costs and inconsistent services.

Potraz highlighted that the rise in licence applications is expected to stimulate investment, competition, and innovation within Zimbabwe's telecommunications industry. The regulatory body anticipated an increase in operators, fostering greater competition and innovation in digital services, despite challenges posed by the El Nino-induced drought.

During the review period, mobile network operators (MNOs) in Zimbabwe saw a substantial increase in nominal revenue by 98.11%, reaching ZWL 2.27 trillion. Adjusted for currency depreciation and inflation, real revenue growth was approximately 65.6%. However, operating costs also escalated sharply by 188.28%, driven by currency depreciation against the US dollar, which surged costs in local currency terms.

Potraz noted that the introduction of the Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) currency in April 2024 could bring stability to the telecom sector, affecting transaction processes, pricing strategies, and cost structures positively. The regulator expects improved macroeconomic stability with the adoption of ZiG, which has remained stable since its introduction.

Despite a slight decline in mobile voice traffic by 1.32%, mobile data traffic surged by 24.9%, reflecting increasing demand for internet services among Zimbabweans during the period.

Overall, Potraz anticipates that these developments will lead to a more competitive telecom sector in Zimbabwe, benefiting consumers with improved service quality and pricing as new operators enter the market under the converged licensing regime.

Source - the standard