Zimbabwe internet penetration has dropped again from 57.9% to 57.2% as at June 2019, Potraz has revealed.
From the previous quarter, the Regulator had predicted that the numbers would continue dwindling as a result of the sharply increased prices as operators try to align their prices with the USD equivalent.
Potraz has also pointed out that the review of the promotional bundles have led to some citizens abandoning internet bundles as they are now beyond their reach.
“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,” said Potraz.
Internet Service Providers in the sector have also bemoaned how inflation, power cuts and the devaluation of the local currency has affected business and how they have looked up to revenue growth strategies and alternative
business models to stay afloat, and mobile operators have gone as far as running base stations with fuel for 10 hours, as noted by Econet.
“1300 of our base stations run on generators for over 18 hours a day and consume 2 million litres of fuel every month. We only receive 25 % of this fuel due to shortages,” read a statement from Econet
The current power supply challenges have negatively affected the sector in terms of service provision, lost potential revenue and increased costs brought about by the use of alternative power sources like generators, in an environment of rising fuel costs.
Meanwhile, an industry expert who requested anonymity said the current economic situation is a major set back to the industry.
“With the current price madness, Zimbabwe will face strong decline forces from both the end-user due to affordability and also on the service providers as CAPEX continues to sink, this IAP business requires a lot of investment for establishment and maintenance costs but when inflationary pressure sours the industry faces a strong setback,” he said.
The drop in the internet penetration rate has also led to a substantial decline in mobile internet or data usage of 8.2% from 10,202TB to
9,367TB. Meanwhile, there was a marginal decline in active internet subscriptions of 1.1% from 8.4 million to 8.3 million.