By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz, has recently announced that the national mobile penetration and data for the year ended December 2013, has maintained a surge breaking the 100% threshold for the first time ever in Zimbabwe.
The national mobile penetration rate now currently stands at 103,5% with data and internet also rising to 39,8% while fixed mobile penetration rate was reported to be 2,4% .
The national subscriber base is now 13,518,887, from last year`s 12.6m. Potraz reported that fixed line subscribers is now 307,202 down from 314,622 in March 2013.
Econet WirelessZimbabwe remains the biggest adding 500 000 subscribers from the previous 8 million in March to 8.5 million, while Telecel jumped by a meager 100k subscribers from 2.43 million to 2.54 million. The state owned operator NetOne, moved by 352 000 subscribers from 2.1 million to 2.45million.
The major surge in mobile and data has been attributed to the availability and accessibility of affordable technological gadgets and enhancement of broadband connectivity via fibre, ADSL and wireless communication which are greatly competing for the market shares.
Social Networks have been a major mover in data penetration as most Zimbabweans have adapted to the new digital trend as a formidable manner to communicate cutting revenues from the traditional voice operators.
GSM operators are succumbing to this new world order and are finally opening up to new revenue streams in data as voice has proved to be under siege from the new emerging disruptive technologies.
VoIP has also been another emerging disruptive technology but it seemed all the three mobile operators in Zimbabwe will not be loosening their screws to see this technology take over as it has been identified as the major threat to their sustainability.
Fixed landlines have not been seeing much of an increase, a move which Telone is most likely to turn around after the state owned entity has embarked on a national wide infrastructure resuscitation of mostly their copper cables for reliable communication.
Mobile subscriber figures now stand at 13,5 million, while data and Internet subscribers totalled 5,2 million. Fixed subscribers were at 307 000 in the period under review.
The Potraz deputy director-general Alfred Marisa could not be drawn to comments as he was roaming and referred all questions to Mrs Mutseekwa, Efforts to get comments from her are still under way.