Zimbabwean corporate subscriptions for fixed voice telecommunications maintained a steady decline throughout 2016 and TelOne, the country’s only provider of fixed lines recorded a 9.3% decline between the second and third quarter of 2016.
According to the latest figures compiled by Zimbabwe’s telecoms regulator, POTRAZ, by October 2016 the number of active corporate landline users had dropped to 82,553 down from 90,977 in the second quarter of 2016.
In September 2015 corporate landline users numbered 100,599 which was a drop from 104,313 users registered in May 2015.
The trend is pretty clear – corporates are migrating from fixed voice communications, a possible indicator of the cost management strategies that businesses have adopted in a tough economy.
Thanks to increased internet access and the rise of mobile services there are other options for communications that businesses can embrace. Corporates, however, tend to opt for reliable voice solutions and judging from a rise in its traffic, its VoIP that is being embraced as a landline alternative.
Traffic made from fixed lines to VoIP lines was up 15.4% in the third quarter of 2016 while calls received from VoIP lines also went up by 6.4%. VoIP traffic also rallied with calls made to (7.5%) and from (14.1%) mobile lines.
VoIP has always been a cheaper alternative for voice communication and has consistently been sold as part of the triple play convenience that comes with broadband solutions like Fibre to the Premises that internet providers like Liquid Telecom and Telco have been pushing to their corporate clients.
Even TelOne, which enjoys a monopoly on fixed voice services introduced its own VoIP solutions in 2016 and it has been selling to clients that take up its Fibre solution.
Considering how fixed lines have maintained growth among retail (domestic) users (they were up by 4% in the 3rd quarter) the promotion of VoIP now increasingly appears to have been TelOne’s tactical move to gear itself for a scenario where fixed lines are only relevant as part of the requirements for ADSL.
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