As technology continues to make communication much cheaper and ubiquitous, Zimbabwe’s largest tax paying sector has continued to suffer with a recent $31, 942 485 drop in revenue against a plethora of alternative modes of communication, coupled by tough economic environment.
According to an official quarterly report by the Telecommunication regulator, Potraz, revenues declined by 11.8% to record $237,771,722 from $269,714,207 recorded in the previous quarter, which is a continous nose dive for the sector, a move which government should be really be worried about.
By Marvelous Chibagidi
The decline in revenue is expected to be even worse, following recent government ‘s decision to force Mobile Network Operators to terminate all voice promotions, which will also see all the data promotions end, when their official shelf life knocks out.
TelOne`s fixed voice revenues declined by 13.2% to record $30,670,623 from $35,341,210 recorded in the previous quarter. This decline in revenues is attributed to the decline in fixed voice traffic.The probable causes of the decline in the telecommunications revenues could be the the general economic environment and the Over-The-Top (OTT) services.The telecommunications sector has not really been spared by the credit crisis and the liquidity crunch within the country’s economy
OTT voice applications such as Viber, Skype and WhatsApp calling have become popular alternatives for international calling as they are significantly cheaper; this has resulted in falling international voice traffic and in turn falling revenue from international voice services.
The mobile operators generated a total of $167.7 million in the first quarter of 2016. This was a 12.3% decline in revenues from $191.1 million recorded in the previous quarter. All the mobile operators registered declines in their revenues. Mobile revenues have been greatly affected by the substitution of traditional mobile services with Over The Top Services.
The total number of mobile subscribers declined 2.5 percent to 18.99 million due to the removal of unused lines from the networks. Econet had 9.28 million subscribers, Telecel 4.27 million and Netone5.43 millionand of the total subscribers ,32.1 percent were inactive.
Mobile penetration rate is the number of active mobile phone users within a specific population and this could have bee contributed by the fact that most of the service providers have their networks wide spread throughout the nation.
This is because in areas were the service providers had not had reached they have reached those areas now hence the increase in the mobile penetration rate were now one deems it fit to own a mobile phone due to the fact that the mobile phone will be fully be put to use as there is network coverage and in this digital era were globalization is on the rise the mobile penetration rate is prone to rise.
However despite the growth of the mobile penetration rate the revenue has actually declined as the telecommunication service providers have felt the scourge brought by the economic turmoil.