Cash crisis reduces mobile money transactions and subscribers

The latest performance report from POTRAZ has revealed that mobile money transactions have had a general decline during the first quarter of 2017 since last year. The total number of active subscribers has also declined by 1.6% from  3,303,188 recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 3,251,784 recorded the first quarter of 2017.

For a subscriber to be consider active, they have to use a mobile money service to make transactions that involve the movement of value (such as cash-in, cash-out, bill payments, airtime top-ups, etc.) at least once within a period of 90 days. Interestingly, the decline in subscribers in the mobile money sector is largely due to Econet’s EcoCash experiencing a 1.7% decline in their active subscribers. Mobile money solutions from Telecel and NetOne reported an increase in active subscribes of 5.1% and 22.6% respectively.

Agents from various mobile money solutions have also declined because of this cash crisis as they need to have cash in order to allow people to cash out and people need cash in order for the agents to get it via cash-ins. Even-though Econet and NetOne mobile money agents declined by 0.7% and 11.2% respectively, Telecel saw a growth of 4.3% in their agents from 1,548 recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 1,614 recorded early this year.

Overall, the cash-in transactions have declined by 9.8% while the cash-out transactions declined by 8.0%.  The number of cross network transactions has also dropped from $1,861,278.19 to 634,143.34  which is a 65.9% decline. It likely caused by the fact that Econet has 3,189,611 mobile money subscribers which is 98% of the total number of mobile money subscribers.


It’s that time of the year when POTRAZ releases the quarterly reports on the performance of the Postal and Telecommunications sector and many people have asked for were they can get the same document. You can get the 2017 first quarter Zimbabwe Telecoms Reports by POTRAZ (pdf downloads) and other reports from previous quarters and years on the page in that link.


NetOne Zimbabwe was the first mobile phone operator in Zimbabwe, the company was launched in 1996. The company is a privately owned company in which the Zimbabwe government has a stake and was formed as a subsidiary of the Posts and Telecommunications. Corporation (PTC). Service... Read More About NetOne

Telecel Zimbabwe is a telecommunications services provider with most of its services in the mobile cellular network services. The company is owned jointly by the Empowerment Corporation (40%) and Vimpelcom (60%), one of the largest telecoms companies in the world. In Zimbabwe, Telecel is the... Read More About Telecel

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, a subsidiary of Econet Wireless International, is the first and largest mobile network services provider in Zimbabwe. The telecoms giant became popular with its products and services such as Buddie. It has established branches in different corners of the country and enjoys... Read More About Econet


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  1. MWANA MWANA says:

    Would be interesting to find out how much plastic money has affected mobile money services? Look into that. The bank could finally be eating away at mobile operators mobile money market share especially in the urban to urban transactions.

  2. Imi Vanhu Musadaro says:

    I find it awkward that if the cash crisis is causing a reduction in mobile money subscribers, how come Netone and Telecels subscribers are increasing. Or, are Ecocash subscribers the only ones affected by the cash crunch? There are plenty of factors that could lead to the reduction of mobile money subscribers, which you may have ignored.

    Personally, I would think the cash crisis would have increased Ecocash’s subscriptions, as more people (who weren’t already on Ecocash) are linking their bank accounts to Ecocash since cash started becoming hard to come by. Even from TechZims own articles, there are more Ecocash bank integrations.

  3. Fusion says:

    Comes down to one thing… If I feel that I cannot get cash at anytime… Then there’s no need for me to accept and hence transact in ecocash…. The decline is probably due to two things. One. The charges are high. Two. It’s actually easier to take money out of a bank account at a cheaper rate….. Overall if I’m given an option I tell my customers to swipe

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