Data usage increases amid the COVID-19 and reliance on E-learning

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  • Mobile internet and data traffic increased by 56.2%
  • People resorted to the internet and technical apps for work, education and information
  • Other segments like voice traffics registered declines

Zimbabwe’s mobile internet and data usage exponentially increased during the second quarter of 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) which has completely changed the way of life for everyone in the world.

Due to the lockdown and social distancing measures, organizations and educational institutes had to shut down, and people were bound at home. So, they resorted to the internet and technical apps for work, education, information, and entertainment purposes.

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As per the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) sector performance report for period under review, mobile internet and data traffic increased by 56.2% to record 10.407TB during the period under review from 6.661TB recorded in the previous quarter.

Used International Internet Bandwidth Capacity also increased by 2.8% to record 128.173Mbps from 124.627Mbps recorded in the previous quarter.

In a statement accompanying the report, POTRAZ highlighted that “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance that telecommunications infrastructure plays in keeping businesses, governments and societies connected and running.

“The Sector has been critical in keeping the economy running under the lockdown by providing business-critical connectivity and resilience, facilitating work-from-home arrangements, e-banking, e-commerce and keeping individuals and societies connected and informed with access to essential services during mandated social isolation”.

However, other segments like voice traffic, postal and courier volumes, as well as active subscriptions across the telecommunications markets, registered declines reflecting the negative impact of the COVID-19 on economic activity.

Mobile penetration rate declined by 6.4% to reach 87.8% from 94.2% recorded in the previous quarter. The internet penetration rate declined by 2.4% to reach 56.7% from 59.1% recorded in the previous quarter.

“The decline in active Internet subscriptions in the quarter under review may be attributable to the depressed demand in the economy at both household and industry level. COVID-19 impact had a direct impact on the operations of both the formal and informal sector thus negatively affecting real disposable incomes,” POTRAZ said.

On the outlook, the Regulator said subscriber retention will be crucial for operations going forward so as to mitigate the dip inactive subscriptions.

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