Mobile Networks Lose Subscribers In First Quarter Of 2019: NetOne With The Most Significant Loss


Usually when subscriber numbers are shared every quarter there are a few things we’ve come to expect. Econet subscribers grow. NetOne might grow/drop depending on what promotions they currently have running. Telecel loses subscribers.


In the first quarter however, all 3 mobile network operators lost subscribers which might reflect accurately on the current state of the economy:

  • Econet lost 1.1% of it’s subscribers; from 8.55 – 8.46 million subscribers.
  • NetOne lost a 20.4%; from 3.25 – 2.59 million subscribers
  • Telecel lost 1.8% of subscribers; from 1.1 – 1.08 million subscribers
  • Overall, mobile network operators lost 6% of subscribers going from 12.9 million subscribers to 12.1 million.

POTRAZ is attributing the slide to current economic conditions which is no surprise:


The decline in active mobile subscriptions is reflective of the general depressed demand in the economy. A number of promotions were also modified in the quarter under review; the reduction in benefits could also have led to a decline in multi-SIM usage thus negatively affecting the total active subscriber base.

Most network operators changed their tariffs for voice calls and internet data towards the end of the first quarter which might mean the impact could be more pronounced in the second quarter.

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