Zimbabwe’s Data Consumption grows by 90%
In the just-released 2017 Potraz Annual Performance Report, Zimbabwe registered a 90% growth to 15.4 billion Megabytes from 8.1 billion Megabytes of data consumed in the prior year. Mobile banking was a push factor to the increased usage of data. The general populace opted for the use of mobile apps for making payments and other transactions, due to the prevailing cash crisis being experienced in the country.
Last year all Mobile Network Operators launched flexible promotions which promoted heavily on internet usage, the biggest promotion of the year under review, One Fusion by Netone, which made subscribers join the Mobile Operator, amounting to an increase in market share of data usage of 22% from 21.3%. Lots of users finding means of communicating using internet cheap and faster, mostly on WhatsApp and Facebook, these social media apps made life easier for most people, especially to young people.
There was also a rise in Active Mobile Internet Subscribers (a mobile line that has been used to make or receive a call, send or receive a message and/or used the internet at least once in the last 90 days), increased by 3.7% to reach 6,971,617 from 6,721,947 recorded in 2016. Where Mobile Active Internet subscribers had that biggest active subscribers of (3G, LTE) 6,824,307 from 6,591,109 of 2016, mainly caused by one person having two or three sim cards to wait for different cheap data promotions from different operators.
“Usage traffic for internet and data services is expected to continue rising. This will be largely spurred by innovation related to non- traditional business models. Growth in the use of Internet of Things (IOTs) applications will take centre stage, driven by consumer appetite for digital solutions that are convenient and affordable”, noted Potraz.
The report also stressed that the increase of mobile data traffic can be attributed to the euphoria of the festive season and the excitement for the new political dispensation. “Growth in the use of Internet of Things (IOTs) applications will take centre stage, driven by consumer appetite for digital solutions that are convenient and affordable. Such solutions will revolve around mobile payments such as payment of utility bills, parking fees and the increased use of plastic money as well as mobile banking.”
We project that the data consumption will continue to grow in Zimbabwe as more people are beginning to appreciate the use of internet on buying, selling (e-commerce), communicating, with everyone wanting to buy a smartphone to install banking apps, last year (2017) the network coverage also improved especially on 3G and 4G base stations which offer best internet speeds. Which was also a major factor in the increase of Data Consumption in the country.
POTRAZ Director General Gift Machengete in August last year told The Financial Gazette that, his organisation will continue to introduce regulatory interventions that would drive down internet prices in the market. Six out of one hundred and eighty-eight local companies in ICT were helped by the government for them to kick-start their projects. Most of these local ICT start-ups companies have internet-based apps and will also help in the growth of data consumption in this year of 2018. Local Start-ups Companies that were assisted by the government were Oyos, Purple Signs, Shift Organic Technologies, Red Pen, Afrimom and Native Project. We also project that Internet charges may be reduced this year, giving local Software Developers the chance for their applications to be widely used.
“Other government-driven initiatives such as e-government, telemedicine and e-learning will also help boost demand and usage of data and internet services.”