By Anyway Yotamu.
The country’s Internet penetration rate fell 2.4% to 56.7% in the second quarter from 59.1% in the first quarter. This is the result of various upward tariff adjustments in the last three months.
Internet use fell 4% to 8.3 million from 8.6 million in the previous quarter as more people are failing to afford data.
Mobile Internet and data traffic increased by 56.2% to 10.407TB from 6.661TB reported in the previous quarter.
Used international Internet bandwidth capacity also went up by 2.8% to 128.173Mbps from 124.627Mbps in the previous quarter.
“Internet data traffic will continue to grow due to the increased adoption of e-learning, telecommuting and e-conferencing,” the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) said.
The total number of active mobile subscriptions fell 6.7% to 12,79 million from 13,72 million. Resultantly, the mobile penetration rate declined 6.4% to 87.8% from 94.2%.
In the same period mobile telephone networks revenue in the second quarter of 2020 rose 45.8% to ZWL3 billion from ZWL2.1 billion in the previous quarter driven by a rise in data usage, the regulator said.
In the same vein, mobile network operating costs grew two fold to ZWL16.1 billion from ZWL5.1 billion in the previous quarter.
POTRAZ said foreign currency challenges have affected network deployment and maintenance as spare parts, equipment and vendor support fees require foreign currency.
“Furthermore, the credit crunch also negatively affected network expansion,” the regulator said.
Internet Access Providers’ revenue went up 52.2% to ZWL1.15 billion from ZWL754.3 million in the previous quarter. Total operating costs for IAPs was up 188.4% to ZWL11.2 billion from ZWL3.9 billion in the previous quarter.
“The high cost of international Internet connectivity remains a challenge as Zimbabwe is a landlocked country, accessing bandwidth from undersea cables via Mozambique and South Africa.”