People are using the internet less in Zimbabwe and its no surprise if you’ve been following the news cycle. Every other day you bump into a headline notifying subscribers about an increase in cost of data and with salaries not doing the same – Zimbabweans are beginning to slow down their internet usage.
POTRAZ released their Q2 report earlier today and one of the major talking points in the report is the 8.2% decline in internet usage.
The decline may be attributable to the review of promotional bundles and packages in the quarter under review. This is the first quarter in one and half years to record a decline in mobile internet and data consumption
A number of users just can’t afford to keep up with the constantly changing data prices for both home and mobile internet. A more worrying statistic that goes along with the decline in usage is the decline in active internet subscriptions which fell from 8.43 million to 8.34 million subscribers.
That means not only is internet usage decline but also a number of people who were using the internet before can no longer afford to do so. I know a person who no longer uses WhatsApp bundles from Econet but instead now opts for SMS bundles.
For this person, it’s not just about losing access to the most efficient and formerly affordable distance communication tool available but it also means no access to businesses that might have targeted them via WhatsApp.
The decline in active data and internet subscriptions is reflective of the general depressed demand in the economy. Mobile operators also reviewed their promotional bundles in the quarter under review;
Internet Access Providers also increased fixed internet and data tariffs in the quarter under review.POTRAZ Q2 report
For local business running e-commerce operations – like ourselves here at Techzim- this is a worrying trend because the number of customers we can pitch our airtime service to.
Two sides to the story
Inversely, Internet Service providers and mobile network operators needed to sell their internet at a higher cost to actually make any meaningful money. More recently, network operators have had to contend with the fuel crisis on top of the currency devaluation which has impacted the pricing consumers pay for the internet.