The national economy is in a really bad state, and it’s not surprising that those nasty effects are now chewing into the telecoms sector in a big way.
A report published by FinX quotes the most recent Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) Sector Report which has key highlights for the fourth quarter of 2014. The figures provided in the report paint a grim picture of the industry and the numbers are depressed when compared to the previous report.
What were the major highlights?
According to the report, mobile network operators’ revenues fell by 18% to close at $907.3 million for the year 2014. Fourth Quarter revenues also took a slump, with the 11.3% decline closing the quarter at $219.7 million. This is against the third quarter revenue total of $248.7 million.
The biggest decline in revenue was witnessed by Econet which experienced a 15.45% decline in revenue to finish the quarter with a total of $158.2 million.
Telecel revenues also declined, but by 3.7% to $29,4 million and interestingly NetOne bucked the trend with a revenue increase of 5.9% that brought its quarterly total to $32.1million.
The highest Average Revenue per User per month (ARPU) was registered by Econet at $8.17 and at $3.35 Net One had the lowest ARPU.
Mobile money transfer subscriptions went up by 7.3% from 4.9 million subscriptions and stood at 5.3 million at the end of 2014 The total value of transactions for mobile money services have increased in value to $445.7million from $403 million recorded in the third quarter which translates to a 10.6% increase.
The mobile money agents total also went up, by 13.7%, from 20,569 in the third quarter to 23,379. On a year by year comparison mobile money subscribers also increased by 71.9% from 3.1 million in 2013 to 5.3million in 2014.
An annual comparison of the total value of mobile money transactions shows an 80.8% increase in deposits to $1,4billion in 2014 from $797,9 million recorded in 2013. The total number of agents increased by 14,210 new agents to reach 23,379 from 9,169 agents recorded in 2013. Mobile money subscribers also increased by 71.9% from 3.1million in 2013 to 5.3 million subscribers in 2014.
Econet, through its EcoCash service, holds 98% of total mobile money deposits.Telecel’s TeleCash holds 1.9% and NetOne’s OneWallet has 0.1% of the total deposits. This distribution also corresponds to the agent totals held by the three networks with Econet possessing the largest network with 17.181 agents followed by Telecel with 4.586 and NetOne with 1.612 agents.
Voice revenue generated by TelOne, the fixed telephone network in the fourth quarter of 2014 was $44.4 million. This is an 11.2% increase from $39,9million recorded in the third quarter of 2014.
In the fourth quarter, TelOne’s voice service had an Average revenue per user (ARPU) per month of $44.93 which was a 15.1% increase from an ARPU of $39.05.
Active mobile subscribers for the fourth quarter of 2014 increased by 3.5% to reach 11.798 652 from 11. 403 788 recorded in the previous quarter.
The mobile penetration rate increased from 87.3% recorded in the third quarter to 90.3% in the fourth quarter.
Subscriber totals for Econet receded by 20,519 to 6 451 863. Telecel continued to shed subscribers with a loss of 71.576 subscribers in the quarter to end the year with a total of 2.152 148 subscribers. Net One once again swam upstream with a subscriber increase of 18% which gave the MNO a total of 3,194 641 subscribers.
Econet`s market share declined to 54.7% in the fourth quarter from 56.8% in the prior quarter. Telecel`s market share declined to 18.2% while Net One’s market share increased to 27.1%.
One of the most striking aspects of the POTRAZ report was that the national active internet subscriptions fell by 5.2% from 6.2 million in the third quarter to 5.9 million in the fourth quarter.
This a slowdown in the uptake of internet services but there is still a maintained annual increase in internet subscriptions which grew by 7.4% from 5,472,710 in 2013 to 5,879,552 subscriptions in 2014.
This quarterly decline in internet subscribers has been linked to the way Telecel and Econet lost subscribers and ultimately active mobile internet subscriptions.