Zimbabwe’s national voice traffic declined by 15.3% in the first quarter of 2016. Approximately 1.007 billion voice minutes were recorded between January and March 2016, a drop from the 1.2 billion voice minutes recorded in the last quarter of 2015.
According to figures published in the telecoms regulator POTRAZ‘s quarterly report (1st Quarter 2016), the biggest drop was for on-net calls that declined by 18.7% while mobile voice traffic also took a major knock sliding by 12.4%
The drop in voice traffic has been a common characteristic in global telecoms with Zimbabwe experiencing operators experiencing the same challenges of a waning interest in traditional voice communication services.
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Over the top services which include popular instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook’s Messenger have been singled out as one of the biggest contributors to this decline, especially for mobile voice communication.
Not only do these services provide an instant communication alternative that is a lot more affordable than a voice call, but they have also incorporated voice communication alternatives in the form of VoIP calling which is significantly cheaper.
In Zimbabwe they are also supported by the affordable bundled services that mobile telecoms operators have used to enable monetisation of these same OTT services.
The impact of this has been a steady decline in telecoms revenues as subscribers faced with communication alternatives make economic decisions.