Inspite Of OneFusion And Megaboost, Econet Posts Higher Subscriber Growth Than NetOne and Telecel


Potraz just released their annual report for 2017 and quarterly report for 4th quarter 2017. We found the pattern of subscriber growth or lack thereof to be quite interesting.


Econet increased their number of subscribers by 4.9%, whilst NetOne saw a 1.9% increase. Telecel, however, is the only mobile network provider that lost subscribers and it seems there was actually an exodus as they lost 8.2%. This is close to a tenth of their subscriber base so they definitely took a hit.

The numbers are quite revealing and they point us to what subscribers are prioritising as their major needs. Let us look at some of these trends and what they mean.


Do promotions actually work?

The fact that Econet had the most growth from Q3 to Q4 is a bit surprising since people are usually complaining about the cost of data associated with using Econet. Econet already had a sizeable lead over NetOne and Telecel but they managed to extend that lead, even though the promotions from the other MNOs are considered to have data promotions that are far superior to what Econet offers in terms of affordability.

With these popular data promotions, growth has still been minimal for NetOne whilst Telecel lost almost 10% of their subscriber base which is downright alarming. Of course, Telecel subscribers might have fled the scene due to other issues such as lack of 4G. We also questioned how impactful OneFusion has been at the beginning of the year. What is clear is the fact that promotions do not offer a sustainable way to grow and attract customers.

What could be bigger than promotions?

I think it’s fair to say that the reason why Econet managed to grow by 4% can be attributed almost exclusively to their EcoCash mobile money service. The cash crisis worsened drastically around September so this forced subscribers to move to Econet as EcoCash was used widely and lessened the burdens that came with the cash crisis. The fact that EcoCash had a 98% ‘monopoly’ share in the mobile money market meant that it basically became a requirement in day to day life. Not having EcoCash is actually a disservice as one would be depriving themselves certain services. This problem is also compounded by the fact that wallet to wallet funds transfers are not possible in the mobile money field which meant users have to have EcoCash in order to transfer funds seamlessly to their family and friends

EcoCash opening up its door could be a good thing for NetOne and Telecel

The fact that Econet recently started allowing NetOne and Telecel subscribers to register for EcoCash could help both mobile network operators (NetOne and Telecel) to retain customers. Think of it this way, subscribers no longer need to flock to Econet just for EcoCash. They can now enjoy their more competitive data promotions whilst still accessing EcoCash. Telecel and NetOne only need to open up their USSD platform to work with EcoCash so that the integration is faultless.

Going forward, I’m particularly interested in seeing how Telecel will attempt to reverse their slide and regain subscribers going forward.

You can download Potraz 4th quarter results in the PDF below:

Sector Perfomance report 4th Quarter 2017-abridged rev15March2018


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7 thoughts on “Inspite Of OneFusion And Megaboost, Econet Posts Higher Subscriber Growth Than NetOne and Telecel

  1. That’s what happens when you run a blessed business and also God fearing when others experience a going down God will lift you up .

  2. Ecocash having near complete control over most of the financial transactions in Zimbabwe is going to hurt the economy in the long run. A nation needs a strong banking system to drive economic growth and Ecocash is not a banking system. Moreover, Econets track record of anti-competitive behavior suggests that the financial sector is going to continue to remain expensive. The for-profit actions of Econet are not going to help most ordinary people on the ground.

    1. Econet is simply providing solutions to the population that was previously unbanked. Financial inclusion improved from less than 35% to more than 70% thanks to Ecocash and I do not see how that hurts the economy. All the money that is on Ecocash is originated by the banks by the way. Do not mix banking challenges as a result on poor productivity and lackluster export performance at national level as reasons why banks are failing to play an enabler role within the economy

      1. Economics 101 – Banks drive economic growth by providing capital. Undoubtedly ecocash has increased financial inclusion and this is a good thing. There is no way banks can compete unless if regulations are put in place to enable them. If the banks improve exports and productivity will follow in the long term.

    2. What happened to banks?…..screwed people over, charged and still continue to do so, ridiculous fees, do not innovate. KYC to open an an account is like going to hell and back. People lost confidence in banking system.

  3. Agree with you the the rise is due to ecocash solely… The banks really to wake up…I just don’t understand it they are the only real competition to ecocash… Yet they really don’t value any client… And the zipit platform is totally underutilised… Which begs the question they are having other revenue sources and probably under declaring profits…. They laying off staff and still maintaining subscribers…. They giving treasury bills to gvt…I suspect they making too much too care…. In the long run though I applaud ecocash is not good for the country…. There’s no way they going to lower prices but laugh all the to the bank ironically…I wonder are banks major shareholders in Econet and hence don’t want to computer directly

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