Government says Zimbabwe lost US$26 million to WhatsApp, Facebook & Over the Top services

Posted by Read 19 Comments

The government has put a price on the “WhatsApp effect”. According to the Minister of ICT Supa Mandiwanzira, Zimbabwe lost US$26 million in less than a year.

In a recent hearing with Parliament, the Minister shared information on how much Zimbabwean mobile voice traffic had declined because of over the top (OTT) services (services that work over the internet) like WhatsApp which provided communication alternatives.

The loss figure is derived from the money that could have been made from voice revenue. Mandiwanzira said,

There was evidence that the entire sector was bleeding as a result of the Over the Top services. From June 2015 to April 2016 mobile operators lost 186 million minutes in voice traffic and those minutes were lost to Over the Top services – to Skype to WhatsApp calling and the like.

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The potential monetary loss to mobile networks as a result of the loss of those minutes for the period that I have specified was about US$26 million and the loss to POTRAZ – because POTRAZ gets a portion of the revenue – was US$139,000. And the loss to treasury through taxes was US$4 million.

So you can see that the biggest loser were the networks themselves. The second biggest loser were the people of Zimbabwe through treasury because US$4 million was being lost in taxes and the least loser was POTRAZ.

The decline of voice calling has had a significant effect on revenues for telecoms operators and OTT services have always taken blame for this. They are firmly placed in the industry’s box of disruptors.

Now, the government also appears to be keeping a closer eye on the disruptive nature of the internet and in highlighting the mobile networks’ plight it’s also putting a figure on this loss.

Since these losses partly contributed to the eventual plea from operators for higher tariffs (which the led to the floor prices) It won’t be surprising if this same focus on the financial reality of WhatsApp influences another increase in data.

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19 Comments

  1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro says:

    Next we will be being told that ZimPost has lost $60 billion in revenue from services like email and SMSes. Technology changes, move with the times. And, you can’t lose something that you never had to begin with. Voice revenue has declined, but data revenue has increased, government shouldn’t focus on one side of the equation.

    1. RN says:

      That is very true.most people are using dollar per day for their bundles. I actually think more money is being realised through these data bundles, if any loses they are minimal

  2. Macd Chip says:

    Mandiwanzira will have to give another gvt directive via Potraz to revert all the networks to 2G thereby forcing users to make standard calls again.

  3. Jack says:

    Zimbabwe didn’t lose anything here, Zimbabweans kept their money in their pockets and used it on important things like opaque beer, mashow aJah Prayzah, ma weave, butsu dzemubhero, mudzanga, mushonga wemapete, kranko etc etc. Big Brother was budgeting for money that isn’t his.

  4. Nyasha says:

    The irony of this is that all along it has been these 3 big tech companies that were disrupting other services like fixed telephony and banking. Now that disruption is hitting their bottom lines they are crying foul. They should suck it up and innovate. For the three biggest technology companies in the country it’s laughable that they don’t want to move with the times. With the logic they’re using we’d still be using steam engine trains because cars took away revenue from train companies.

    1. Macd Chip says:

      Talking about that, how much money did TelOne lost from these 3 when people stopped using landlines and moved to mobile phones?

      Minister vari kurayirwa nevanhu vasina ruzivo zvavo.

      1. Douglas Maposa says:

        +1

  5. Data Born says:

    Pardon my geeky french but the telcos, the treasury and portraz can go frak themselves if they think I will willingly go back to over priced calls or pay them extra for FREE services they don’t even own! They have my permission cover the revenue shortfall from that $15 billion!

  6. Haha says:

    You are too pre historic Supa. I would for a change encourage you to wake up and live the age. Better invest in internet that direct talk. This is technology.

  7. follow says:

    we lost jobs saka no money to do unnecessary calls

    give us the formula you used to calculate your lose

  8. Chimurenga3 says:

    Kuti vamame!

  9. Chidembo Douglas Mwendamberi IV says:

    Techzim could you please support comment nesting. It’s so hard to see who is responding to who.

  10. Sincilair says:

    I think this is a very stupid way of a gvt desperate looking for revenue. For starters, something tells me that all telcom companies make money from the OTT and they pay taxes… It is like saying “cause we don’t send physical letters and make landline calls gvt has lost si and so much”. No. The tech has changed and the revenue comes from other sources. It is like ZTV – I am sorry you are outdated. Should we say that as most watch satellite TV gvt is “losing” so much revenue as noone watches ZTV any more. Wake up to reality, Supaman

  11. Mwana Wevhu says:

    Mr Minister are you for real? Can you give us stats on Data usage then?

  12. gus says:

    Minister go back to school

  13. the observer says:

    Well i feel its just our lack of seeing the future, the next wave is internet services , did government cry when PTC fell behind to Mobile phones, did they cry when ZIMPOST got left behind to overnyt couriers and email services. In the 21st century u need leadership thats aware of the global economic and technological climate and must be readyto adjust and act accordingly. MTN is recording profits off data and they have over the top services and their call and data rates are cheaper , guys wake up and smell the coffee. Voice call are now of the past .

  14. Clemmy says:

    Maandiwanzira is just representingredients himself as the biggest fool on the world platform. That’s to say let’s shut down WhatsApp, Facebook. Get over your monopoly mentality and move with the times . this is a leadership curse if such a young boy can’t value technological advances

  15. Godknows says:

    this is also happening in other countries and how are they mitigating the problem? i do not suppose otehr countries introduce punitive measures but instead come up with strategies that motivate use.

  16. Jay jay says:

    U wanted to use dat money for your own good and pleasing yo masters.. Mari dzedu tri kudzishandisa kugadzira lyf yevana vedu..haulume

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