The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) quarterly bulletin indicates that while mobile Internet and data traffic increased in quarter one of 2023, voice traffic dropped significantly over the same period.
This comes as mobile internet and data traffic in Zimbabwe are on the rise with more people using their smartphones for various online activities such as social media, e-commerce and online learning.
Per the report, mobile internet and data traffic saw a very significant increase of 12.3%, from 33,576.4 Terabytes at the end of Q4 2022 to 37,690.4 Terabytes at the end of Q1 2023.
Econet`s market share of Internet and data declined by 7.2%, which was gained by NetOne. Struggling Telecel`s market share remained unchanged.
Meanwhile, voice traffic dropped from 3 billion minutes at the end of Q4 2022 to 2.5 billion minutes at the end of Q1 2023, representing a decline rate of 16%.
Indeed, none of that comes as a surprise because signs are indicating that mobile voice in general is experiencing some decline in favour of more VoIP (voice over internet protocol) calls such as WhatsApp, Telegram and even Facebook calls.
Net-on-Net traffic has been consistently declining and the trend continued into the first quarter of 2023, according to POTRAZ.
“As with fixed voice traffic, the decline in mobile voice traffic may be attributable to the 50% increase in tariffs in February 2023. Substitution of traditional voice with Over-the-top VoIP also plays a significant factor.
“The continuous decline may also be attributable to the deteriorating quality of service due to the loadshedding resulting in lower call-success ratios,” reads the report.
Econet and Telecel lost voice market share by 2.6% and 0.2%, respectively. Conversely, NetOne gained voice traffic market share by 2.8%.
From 9,914,950 in the fourth quarter of 2022, the total number of active Internet and data subscriptions climbed by 0.1% to 9,920,847. From 65.3% in the previous quarter, the Internet penetration rate improved by 0.1% to 65.4% this quarter.
Total mobile operator revenues increased from $119.5 billion in the previous quarter to $161.1 billion, a 34.8% increase.
Operating costs, on the other hand, increased by 25.7% to $102.8 billion from $81.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022 – Harare