As the national mobile and data penetration continues to soar, Facebook usage in Zimbabwe has jumped from 146 637 in 2016 to 850 000 in 2017 according to a report by Internet World Stats.
According to the report , there is a 353 121 578 estimated internet users in Africa as at March 31 2017.
Zimbabwe has a 16.337,760 million population with 6,721,947 internet users as at 31 March 2017, a huge increase from 50 000 user in the year 2000.
By Miriam Kunjanja
The Zimbabwean national internet penetration rate over the population currently lies at 41.1%, as data becomes more affordable, with millions getting access to cheaper data capable handsets.
The internet growth from year 2000 up to 2017 is 13,343.9% which is a huge growth in Zimbabwe with social network being a major mover as mobile network operators drive cheaper social media data bundles.
The continental Facebook subscribers as at June 30 2016 was recorded to be at a staggering 146,637,000
Individuals and businesses are coupling their already extensive use of cell phones with a more recent and massive interest in social media, Internet-based tools and platforms that allow people to interact with each other much more than in the past, leading to what may be the next global trend: a major shift to mobile Internet use, with social media as its main drivers. As it becomes much more expensive to run landlines.
According to Budde.com Mobile voice and data services were able to fill this void very effectively. As a result, in many countries in the region the use of telecoms services is morphing from being predominantly mobile to being solely mobile. Investment in fixed-line infrastructure is being side-lined in favour of mobile infrastructure.
Operators are predominantly investing in spectrum, particularly in the 700MHz band as this is being released into 2017 and 2018 following the switch from analogue to digital broadcasts. They are also strengthening the robustness of their networks by migrating from 3G to LTE-based services. This in turn is being supported by increased international connectivity from a number of new submarine and terrestrial cables.
These cables are providing the required backbone infrastructure to support the growing flow of data. Prominent projects include the SACS cable running between Angola and Brazil, with onwards connectivity to Miami, as well as the Liquid Sea cable being built by the pan-regional infrastructure provider Liquid Telecom along the continent’s east coast.
Smartphones are increasingly becoming the principal mobile device used among consumers. The adoption of smartphones is being encouraged by a plethora of cheaper units manufactured locally. The growing take-up of such devices is in turn supporting a tremendous growth in m-commerce, m-money and m-banking services. With the majority of Africans being unbanked, m-payment systems are thriving in most markets where they have been deployed.
This has been helped by operators facilitating money transfers between their cross-border networks, as also by co-operation among different players and by a wider number of banks hosting such services. M-money is particularly popular in markets such as Kenya, though the more sophisticated banking sector in South Africa was a contributing factor in the Vodacom’s M-Pesa service being withdrawn from that market in mid-2016.
More than three quarters of mobile subscribers on the continent are expected to subscribe to broadband services by 2020, compared to about a fifth in early 2016. With more than a billion mobile subscribers in the region this presents a vast market for vendors and application providers. Although the relatively low purchasing power in the region will not translate into a similarly rapid growth in revenue, considerable potential remains.