First quarter financials released by Vimpelcom, Telecel Zimbabwe’s ultimate parent company, show that Telecel Zimbabwe lost about 111,000 mobile subscribers in the first quarter of 2014.
In the last quarter of 2013, Telecel Zimbabwe reported a subscriber base of 2.57 million. This number, the results show, has gone down to 2.459 million. It’s not clear what has caused the loss in subscribers in the 3 months, and to which of the other two operators the subscribers migrated to. Both Econet and NetOne have not yet reported their quarterly statistics.
Through Telecel Globe, Vimpelcom owns a stakes in operators in Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, and Burundi. The results show that total revenue from the 3 country operations in the first quarter was $22 million.
It’s not clear what share of this revenue was made by the Zimbabwe operation. However of the total reported 4.4 million subscribers in the 3 markets, Zimbabwe accounts for more than half the subscribers, which may be the same pattern in revenue.
Total earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) for the three countries is US $9 with EBITDA margin is 41.4%. Again it’s not clear how much of this is Telecel Zimbabwe’s.
Our questions to Telecel Zimbabwe over the figures had not been responded to by the time we published this article.
In December 2013, Telecel Zimbabwe was the second largest mobile operator in Zimbabwe, after Econet Wireless which has about 8.7 million subscribers. Closely trailing behind Telecel then was NetOne with 2.4 million subscribers. If NetOne gained any subscribers at all in those 3 months, Telecel is no longer second in this market. Back in January, Telecel Zimbabwe attributed the stunted growth to wars with Econet wireless. It’s highly unlikely this is still the reason as there hasn’t been any price or disconnection drama lately.