The telecommunications sector recorded 19, 2 % up from previous quarter on growth recorded across which is $24, 7 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2021.
Internet access providers recorded a 10 percent revenue increase to $6 billion from $5,4billion in the previous quarter with the mobile operators’ revenue jumped 22 percent to $16, 9 billion while that for fixed telephone network was 18 percent ahead of previous quarter to settle at $1, 6 billion.
Telecommunication sector revenue grows despite growing operating costs due to a challenging business environment.
Regulator, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) Director General, Dr Gift Machengete, told the media that besides the general factors, there are sector-specific challenges that operators face such as over-taxation, legacy debts and unavailability of foreign currency amongst others.
“Unlike other services that may have alternative local supply, the provision of telecommunications relies heavily on imports mainly in the form of equipment and software licenses which need to be upgraded from time to time.
“The shift to the auction based foreign currency market system seemingly eased inflationary pressures but the allocated foreign currency has not been sufficient to meet all network maintenance, upgrade and investment requirements. “he said
During the quarter under review, active mobile telephone subscriptions increased by 3,9percent to 13, 5 million while mobile penetration rate rose 3, 5 percentage points to 91,3percent from 8, 8 percent.
The total number of active Internet and data subscriptions increased by 1, 9 percent to 9,2million in as Internet penetration rate increased by 1, 2 % points to 62 % from 61, 1 % in the previous quarter.
Figures from POTRAZ show that active fixed telephone lines decreased by 1, 7 % to245, 322 in the second quarter from 249,486 recorded in the first quarter of 2021. Fixed tele-density remained at 1, 7 percent.
For the second quarter under review, there was a general growth in internet and data usage. Mobile Internet and data traffic increased by 7, 2 % to 23,436 Terabytes while used international incoming bandwidth capacity also increased by 3, 8 percent.
“Internet and data traffic is expected to continue growing due to the increased adoption of eLearning, telecommuting and e-conferencing amongst other services,” said Dr Machengete.
Performance by postal courier services was also on the increase as total revenue generated rose 28,3 percent to $344,9 million from $267,8 million recorded in the first quarter although operating costs increased by 18,4 percent to $337,8 million in the previous quarter.
During the quarter under review, volumes for postal and courier services rose by 20,3percent to record 581,450 items from 483,391 items in the first quarter of 2021 and volumes are to pick up as the ease of channeling courier items to and from several destinations improves post-lockdown.
The sector continues to play a critical role in keeping the economy running in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic by providing business-critical connectivity and resilience, facilitating work-from-home arrangements, e-banking, e-commerce, as well as keeping individuals and societies connected and informed, with access to essential services during mandated