The Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) believes internet and data will drive the growth of the postal and telecommunication industry in Zimbabwe.
While the disruptive nature of Over the Top services like WhatsApp has affected revenue streams of the industry over the last few years, internet and data provides opportunities for growth for the sector as a whole rather than stifling it. POTRAZ Director General Dr. Gift Machengete said that the industry growth continues to be driven by Internet and data.
“Industry growth continues to be driven by internet and data. Usage traffic for internet and data services is expected to continue rising. This will be largely spurred by innovation related to non-tradional business models such as Internet of Things (IoT),” said Dr Machengete.
Active internet subscriptions in Zimbabwe was at 6,971,617 at the end 2017, recording a growth of 3.7% from 6,721,947 in 2016. This represents an internet penetration rate of 50.8% in 2017 which grew by 0.8%.
But while it is obvious that companies in the provision of internet will reap huge rewards from an increase in the supply and uptake of internet and data, many other companies are set to gain, which in turn will work well for the industry.
The postal and courier sector hasn’t been performing well, recording depressed service volumes and revenues and Dr Machengete said that Zimbabwe can draw inspiration from Malaysia which has managed to turn around its postal and courier sector by starving it of government support and forcing it to be more innovative.
“E-commerce needs to be supported as it is a key driver of international courier volumes and revenues in the world,” added Dr. Machengete.
E-commerce rates poorly in Zimbabwe. The growth of the industry lies in the increase of the provision of internet especially to marginalised areas and the ease to send and receive money.
The ministry of ICT and Cyber Security had already issued an ultimatum for Mobile Money Services Providers to make their services interoperable, a move that will most likely positively affect e-commerce in Zimbabwe, which in turn will drive the postal and courier services.