Potraz Q3 report. Econet mopping up NetOne and Telecel subscribers & 104% increase in mobile revenues vs Q2

Edwin Chabuka Avatar
POTRAZ call monitoring, calls, GVG, Global Voice Group

Potraz Q3 report is out and not a lot really happened. A total of nine 2G base stations were decommissioned and 139 3G base stations were added. 4G base station count increased by 120 whilst the number of 5G base stations remained the same.

NetOne has been quite busy beefing up its 4G infrastructure which grew its market share of LTE base stations from 39.9% in Q2 to 44.5% in Q3. Telecel also saw an increase in its 2G base station market share from 13.3% to 13.4% however its internet and data market share has dropped to a dangerously low 0.2%. Almost no one is using Telecel for internet.

Mobile revenues

There was a 104% increase in revenue in Q3 compared to Q2. This is quite a substantial bump from the average 30 to 40% variation we are used to. The biggest contributor is the 61% increase in tariffs that Potraz approved within Q3. And they did this twice in a bid to get internet, voice, and data tariffs to catch up to the rate of inflation in the country.

At a total sector revenue of ZW$79.5 billion for Q3, the average spend of a mobile subscriber came at ZW$60.66 per day or US$0.09 at the interbank rate. The same figures using Q2’s revenue of ZW$38.9 billion look like this. ZW$30.86 per subscriber per day or US$0.08 using June 30th interbank rate.

So in USD terms, the buying habits of mobile subscribers have remained mostly unchanged regardless of the doubling in revenues and subscriber spending in local currency. Since telecom operator expenses are mostly in USD, their earnings are not doing much to drastically change their situation apart from keeping up with inflation. You can find out why the internet is expensive in Zimbabwe here.

Fixed Internet

The rate of fiber connections has dropped from 7.7% in Q2 to 0.9% in Q3. Fiber has very high setup costs and a long turnaround time for ISPs. New residential areas are emerging faster than they can lay their fiber meaning a good number of new suburbs are yet to be serviced.

To try and salvage the situation, ISPs are also offering fixed-wireless internet solutions alongside fiber in the form of VSAT and LTE which are seeing higher growth rates. VSAT subscribers grew by 30.2% in Q3 vs 20% in Q2 with LTE & 3G going from -3.6% in Q2 to 4.4% in Q3. A comparison of all VSAT service providers is here and one for all LTE service providers is here

TelOne and Dandemutande are the only ISPs that added more bandwidth to their existing ones. TelOne increased its bandwidth from 97.5Gbps to 107.5Gbps and Dandemutande from 5.6Gbps to 5.9Gbps. Liquid may have lost 1.6% of its market share in Q3 but it still boasts the largest bandwidth of 400Gbps which remains unchanged from Q2. You can find a comparison of all fiber and ADSL service providers here.

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20 comments

  1. All the Bits

    With this near chronic under utilisation, how’s telecels Internet performing for its active customers? Is the experience better or worse?

    1. Anonymous PQR

      I am an active Telecel user since 2010.
      Telecel do wonders in my location, nowadays I consistently get 5Mb/s mind you I live about 200 metres from the booster. Its has its ups and downs but for me am all in. One thing I like about it compared to Netone and Econet, as long as internet is there its quiet consistent and you dont have to keep toggling flight mode on and off. It’s either the network is there or it’s not. With Netone if you purchase an hourly bundle, the 1st whole 30mins it wont be working. Experiences differ, some are crying big time in other places me am in BYO.

      1. Anonymous

        Likewise am with you there telecel Works smothly its just underated

        1. Anonymous PQR

          You’re very correct but they have improved greatly. As am typing this comment, am on Telecel 4g but there is no electricity since midday.

    2. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

      When there is loadshedding, apparently there’s no network. Their base stations are like landlines. 😬

  2. Phagocyte

    Hmmm… Interesting. I just want to ask, is ZOL available in Ruwa?

  3. Anonymous PQR

    Techzim
    What is the reason behind the fact that when you purchase a Netone hourly bundle, you have to spend about half an hour toggling flight mode on/off and restarting your phone but the 4g incon will be there. It just won’t browse until you have 30-40 mins left them boom its starts working. What does Netone say about this.

    1. The Empress

      Maybe it’s because we don’t complain to POTRAZ that they are still doing this.

    2. hourly bundle a scam

      Even Econet they do the same they are a frauds in suits speaking fancy English😤

  4. Masimba Dhlamini

    I was at watsomba a few days ago there was no internet at all on Econet. I would sometimes not have any network.
    Right now l am in Chiweshe Dhlamini or Ushe village there is no internet on Econet . May you please fix that.

    1. Anonymous PQR

      How sad, and then you have a company pursing 5g yet you can’t get decent coverage in some areas.

      1. The Empress

        Maybe there is no network coverage because the area is not financially viable, ie not enough customers, people, etc etc. So they don’t put much effort after all it’s business not charity. But these areas are exactly what POTRAZ is supposed cover by installing base stations using the monies they tax from every $ of airtime that we buy. The universal fund money is supposed to be used for this exact issue not sponsoring the national team or whatever nonsense they waste the money on.

      2. The Empress

        Maybe there is no network coverage because the area is not financially viable, ie not enough customers, people, etc etc. So they don’t put much effort after all it’s business not charity. But these areas are exactly what POTRAZ is supposed cover by installing base stations using the monies they tax from every $ of airtime that we buy. The universal fund money is supposed to be used for this exact issue not sponsoring the national team or whatever nonsense they waste the money on.
        The areas that get 5G might be areas where they see a better return on investment, remember the aim is to make profit not to be liked for giving charity

  5. 🙍Dumi

    Damn. Where can I get those super big screens? I need them for watching multiple things at once like Indians, porn etc

  6. The Empress

    “… 139 3G base stations were added”
    The above statement sounds so reasonable but then you realise that this technology is about 20 years old! And some countries eg USA have completely phased out 3G and moved on to better technology. So we’re doomed to follow exactly in the footsteps that other countries have walked jumping ahead seems to be strictly against the rules.
    Now I’m not saying jump straight to 5G that would be quite frankly stupid aside from being extremely expensive but 4G doesn’t seem to be a bridge too far but due to factors like…
    – The Economy
    – POTRAZ asleep at the wheel
    – And Mbudzi phone owners
    The first is difficult to solve and something that can’t be fixed overnight so we will leave it like that.
    But POTRAZ should be doing more to set standards of the lowest capability phones sold in Zimbabwe. If they set a date and said every phone sold in Zimbabwe should be 4G capable that be of great help, but we can forget about that ever happening.
    Then we have the Mbudzi phone owners. Non of the network providers is willing to unilaterally cut off 2G because of these people, cos i tell (😉😏) you if they did they would immediately lose customers to anyone of the other network providers who would be running adverts exactly 2 minutes after such an announcement talking about how they “are pro consumers and would never do such a dastardly thing ” it would be suicidal business wise. So that will never happen. Even if Mbudzi phone owners don’t generate much revenue for network providers, but due to urge maintain market share they have taken the view that…
    “… Even mosquitoe legs have meat”

  7. Confused

    Seriously though how/why is Telecel still operating. At this point they’re just there to make up the numbers.

  8. M

    Last year the rage was the stup1d1ty of finance ministers to suggest that all mobile phones needed to be taxed at registration with mobile network operators – assuming people were not paying duties when bringing the devices into the country.

    See what happened to the s1lly idea? It died a very silent death. Ah those sorts

  9. Melex

    If l may ask how does Pindula update there news in realtime without us buying data and what database or server do they use…I’m just curious?

  10. Doodle Jump

    If I may inquire, how does Pindula update their news in realtime without requiring us to purchase data, and what database or server do they utilize… I’m simply intrigued.

  11. Andrew

    What is the performance of Telecels Internet like for its active subscribers given this almost chronic underutilization? Is the situation better or worse now,

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