There are more people signing up for mobile connections but fewer calls are being made by these same subscribers.
This fact has been expressed POTRAZ’s Sector Performance Report for the first quarter of 2014. The report has provided a snapshot perspective on the state of telecoms in Zimbabwe, with a notable decline in mobile traffic being registered in the first quarter of the year.
While the number of subscribers has gone up by 1.9% the data in the report shows a 20.7% decline in total mobile traffic from 2.4 billion minutes in the last quarter of 2013 to 1.9 billion minutes in the first quarter of 2014.
Ironically the largest decline in mobile traffic was noted in net-on-net traffic, this is despite the string of on-net call promotions from operators such as the bundles promotions from Econet and Telecel as well as NetOne’s dollar a day feast.
An obvious trend regarding traffic has been the decline of international traffic, which is attributable to the proliferation of alternatives for communication such as WhatsApp and VoIP solutions like Skype and Viber.
Inversely Internet subscriptions are up by 2.9% with 98% of total internet connections being noted through mobile data. This should trigger a greater focus on data solutions from the MNOs, something that has already started with OTT services for Facebook and WhatsApp.
Traffic between mobile operators and VoIP operators has increased, with incoming calls from VoIP up 20.6% and outgoing calls up by 1.6 %. According to the report, this is a result of interconnection agreements between IAPs and MNOs.
Hopefully these agreements stretch into fair pricing policies which could be an issue judging from how the three MNOs are offering voice call discounts that encroach into the VoIP operators’ pricing models.
The declining trend in mobile traffic is attributable to intertwined factors actually. These include a tougher challenge on the average subscriber’s disposable income, the emergence of alternatives such as Instant Messaging (WhatsApp is the biggest culprit/subscriber’s saviour here) and a greater awareness of the possibilities presented by broadband. The era of data is definitely upon us judging from the facts on the ground.
In a not so friendly economic environment the average subscriber will spend less on voice calls, particularly when such communication can be substituted by cheap alternatives. Its even more convenient when these alternatives are offered through affordable bundles.
You can find the POTRAZ Q1 Report by clicking below