Internet Usage continues to Rule in Telecommunications: Zimbabwe
The telecommunication sector continues to be a critical force for growth and innovation and disruption across all sectors of the economy. The exponential growth trend in data consumption is expected to continue unabated.
This will be largely driven by the introduction of new applications and services in the market such as internet video, especially as operators are now looking at participating in the media space.
Accordingly, the industry is likely to see the contribution of data and internet to total revenue outpacing the voice revenue contribution. Voice is slowly taking a back seat, while data and internet services are taking over as the main driver for sector growth.
The underlying trends of Machine to Machine (M2M), Big Data Analytics, Cloud Computing and the over-arching Internet of Things will grow, albeit at a slow pace due to the limited absorptive capacity of the economy which is yet to be developed.
The sector, however, expects the adoption of IoT to become a critical engine for future growth going forward as new innovative applications come on board. A huge range of industries from automotive, retail and utilities, to home security and health are adopting IoT strategies which will require high-speed data and internet networks to support a myriad of uses.
Other government-driven initiatives such as e-government, telemedicine and e-learning will also act as drivers for huge data and internet services demand. 4G/LTE deployment, Fibre to the Home (FTTH) deployment and network upgrades are expected to take centre stage as operators try to keep up with increased demand for high-speed internet.
According to a Postal and Telecommunications Sector Performance Report for the first quarter of 2018 by POTRAZ, a total of 5,220,540,841MB (5,220 TB) of mobile internet and data traffic was consumed in the first quarter of 2018. This represents a 0.18% decline from 5,230,109,428MB (5,230 TB) recorded in the last quarter of 2017.
Traffic for mobile data and internet services has been consistently increasing, and only registered a decline in the first quarter of 2018. Econet, despite being the most expensive of the three mobile operators continue to be the roller coaster in the market as figures show that it’s the only operator which recorded an increase as compared to the last quarter of 2017.
The 1st quarter compared with the last quarter of 2017 figures shows that Econet gained 2.5% market share of internet and data traffic to close the first quarter of 2018 with 67.1% market share, while NetOne and Telecel shed 1.4% and 1.1% market share respectively.
The total number of active internet subscriptions as of 31 March 2018 was 7,221,640. This represents a 3.7% growth from 6,824,307 active internet subscriptions recorded in the last quarter of 2017. As a result, the internet penetration rate increased by 1.3% to reach 52.1% in the first quarter of 2018 from 50.8% recorded in the last quarter of 2017.