According to the Zimbabwe Telecoms report for the first quarter of 2017, people and companies have been dropping landline usage. Active subscriptions of landlines have declined by 15.7% from 305,720 active subscriptions recorded as at 31 December 2016 to 257,626 recorded as at 31 March 2017.
With the recent revelation of TelOne’s $25 Million loss which was partly due to infrastructure degradation, it’s no surprise that household subscriptions have dropped from 237,285 to 200,948. This 15.3% decline could also be attributed to the previous system that TelOne had were a user had to pay a monthly charge for just having a landline even if they didn’t use it. TelOne in June switched to prepaid voice services as a means to tackle this decline.
The number of active lines in rural areas, capital city and urban areas have also declined by 15.8%, 15.7% and 15.7% respectively. Most probably, it’s due to infrastructure not being maintained especially in the case of rural areas.
Of the different categories of fixed telephone subscriptions, corporate subscriptions had the largest decline of 17.2%. The subscriptions dropped from 68,435 to 56,678. Even-though large companies often make a lot of calls, the decline is understandable because enterprises are now switching from TelOne to cheaper options like VoIP which can often be bundled with a companies Internet package.
Fixed voice traffic increased by 3.2% to record 160 million minutes from 155.1 million minutes recorded in the previous quarter. This is due to an increase in net-on-net traffic. International incoming and outgoing calls on fixed telephones have declined by 17.5% and 38.1% respectively. The decline wasn’t probably just caused by the decline in active subscribers or active lines but also because even the active subscribers are now opting for cheaper options like WhatsApp to make International calls.
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 that page.