With POTRAZ releasing their 4th quarter Telecommunications sector report a few days ago, there’s always a lot to unpack in these reports and one of the questions we’ve had is how Zimbabweans have taken the constant hikes in pricing of mobile data over the last 6-7 months.
Well, the data is here now and it seems Zimbabweans have been using mobile internet much less than before. Mobile data usage dropped by a whopping 33.1% during the 4th quarter – to record 6,479.5TB from 9,684.5TB.
Econet and NetOne were the biggest losers in this regard with their mobile subscribers using 32.5% and 39.5% less data respectively.
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A huge drop but is it really surprising?
POTRAZ attributes the plunge in mobile data use to an increase in both out-of-bundle and in-bundle browsing tariffs;
The decline in mobile internet and data usage is attributable to the increase in out of bundle tariffs; operators also reviewed the in-bundle rates for a number of mobile internet and data promotions.POTRAZ Q4 Report
The fact that Zimbabweans didn’t have electricity for 16-18 hours every day during this period is no doubt another reason why data usage plummeted.
Good news for Telecel
Telecel is usually in bad situations much more often than Econet and NetOne but their data usage only dropped by 2%. Granted this is a reflection of the fact that the MNO already had far lower data usage but it’s also fair to note that Telecel hasn’t been aggressively changing data pricing like NetOne and Econet.
Maybe because they don’t have as much leverage as the other two networks but ultimately their customer base has benefited thus far.
Will this change?
Ultimately, the combination of a spiralling economy, low incomes and intense power challenges has made mobile data less accessible to millions of Zimbabwe.