Telecel was the only operator to experience a decline in active subscriptions and this is according to the 2016 first quarterly report published by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe where in the fourth quarter of 2015 Telecel had 1,919,999 active subscribers which was reduced to 1,824,936 in the first quarter of 2016 in comparison with NetOne and Econet who both recorded an increase.
The total number of mobile subscribers in the country as at 31 March 2016 was 18,992,082. This represents a 2.5% decline from 19,477,307 total subscriptions recorded as at 31 December 2015. The decline is attributed to the removal of unused lines from the networks. Mobile lines that exceed 1 year of no activity are removed from the network by the mobile operators.
Of the 18,992,082 total mobile subscribers, 12,900,173 were active in the period under review. An active mobile subscription is defined as a mobile line which has been used to make and/or receive a call, send and/or receive a message or used the internet within the past 3 months (90 days).
A quarterly comparison of active subscriptions per operator is shown in the table below:
There has been rattles within the company over the past few months with changes in the shareholding structure. This could in a way have impacted on even the marketing strategy with the network offering less promotions but one could think that subscribers would stick around because of brand loyalty.
Brand loyalty could have proved to be hard to the Telecel subscribers as competitors were also in a bid to gain loyalty and lure more subscribers while offering quite a number of promotions which had heads turning and many scrambling alternative service providers hence increasing the number or active subscribers for Econet and NetOne.
Telecel once cut off on its social media bundles which had had some subscribers who had subscribed with the network go back to their former subscribers hence leaving some of their lines inactive.
Some of the subscribers have complained that Telecel network is not as good and clear in remote areas as compared to its competitors hence causing a decline in the rate of active subscribers. There was also a period when the Telecel satelite had a problem which disrupted the providers network and this had subscribers migrating to other networks and by the time the problem was rectified many subscribers had abandoned ship.