The number of mobile money subscribers in Zimbabwe increased by 7.1% in the third quarter of 2015 According to the latest industry report from the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ).
At the beginning of October 2015, the mobile money subscriber total in Zimbabwe stood at 6,670,956 up from 6,230,738 in the second quarter of 2015. Accompanying this subscriber increase was a rise in the mobile money agents from 27,862 in the second quarter of 2015 to 29,775 in the third quarter of the year.
While subscribers and agents increased during the review period, mobile money deposits dropped by 10.5%. In the third quarter, the total mobile money deposits stood at $458,412,196 down from $512,036,783. This retreat was likely influenced by reduced monetary activity due to a tough economic environment where both the formal and informal sectors were faced with cashflow challenges.
It’s not the first quarterly drop in mobile money deposits, though. Between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 mobile money deposits also declined. During that period, an 8.69% retreat was registered, which is lower than the 10.5% for the latest review period, but illustrates the tendency for fluctuations in monetary deposits and as such the frequency and extent of mobile money service use.
Mobile money still has a lot of potential
In a telecoms environment where voice revenue depletion has become a standard element for all the operators, a lot of hope is placed in services like mobile money. The figures indicated in the POTRAZ report also support the bets being made on this service line.
Despite the fluctuations registered for deposits, most metrics show a positive upturn. The growing mobile money subscriber numbers indicate a continued use of mobile money services and a realisation by an increasing number of Zimbabwe’s 12,394,383 mobile subscribers that conveniences in transactions can be assigned to the phone.
This will have to be supported by increased intewgration of mobile money facilities from merchants and traders, as well as the tying in of mobile money into services that have been aided by traditional financial channels only.