Zimbabwe - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

LONDON, Oct. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Zimbabwe's Telecoms regulator and broadcasting authority set to merge Zimbabwe's economy has seen a downturn since the fractious elections of July 2013, resulting in a significant fall in GDP growth.

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The contribution to GDP from the telecom sector has fallen steadily as a result. Sector revenue has also come under pressure from a number of recent regulatory measures and taxes imposed by the cash-strapped government. Nevertheless, the telecom sector shows some promise, particularly from the mobile sector where mobile penetration has increased rapidly, reaching 116% by early 2018.

The three mobile network operators Econet Wireless, NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe continue to invest in network upgrades to support data services and their fast-expanding m-commerce and m-banking facilities. Telecel was recently acquired by the government from VEON, and the financial demands required for investment has jeopardised resources potentially available to the incumbent telco TelOne, (formerly PTC), which still holds a de-facto monopoly on fixed-line services in the country.

Limitations in international bandwidth for the landlocked country for many years held back development of the internet and broadband sectors, but this has changed since fibre optic links to several submarine cables have been established via neighbouring territories. The expansion of 3G mobile broadband services across the country, and the more recent efforts to provide LTE services, have meant that more than half of the population now has access to the internet. The first commercial LTE services were launched in 2013, while investment in LTE technologies, for which the regulator has assigned spectrum in the 700MHz band, continues. In addition, in mid-2018 the government considered issuing technology-neutral licences in a bid to encourage investment in the telecom sector.

Considerable progress continues to be made in rolling out national fibre backbone networks, facilitated by the government's efforts to encourage network infrastructure sharing. Limitations on international bandwidth are gradually being addressed, with bandwidth available to ISPs increasing sharply. This has greatly reduced the cost of broadband services and encouraged the growth in the number of broadband subscribers. The shift to broadband continues, with the number of dial-up subscribers becoming negligible.

Continuous improvements in national and international fibre infrastructure as well as in 3G and 4G services have raised Zimbabwe's internet and broadband performance indicators in recent years. Mobile internet connections make up 98% of all internet connections.

Key developments:
Telecoms regulator and broadcasting authority set to merge;
Draft legislation issued to repeal Post and Telecommunications Act;
Regulator proposes to create a new Virtual Network Operator (VNO) license category;
TelOne to deliver FttP to 100,000 premises by end-2018;
Telcos agree to the government's infrastructure sharing policy;
VEON sells debt-laden unit Telecel to state-owned ISP Zarnet;
Telecel Zimbabwe launches Telecash mobile money service;
Econet Wireless launches Wi-Fi in commuter minibuses;
Government enforces m-money interoperability on MNOs;
NetOne refreshes m-money service;
Regulator to prioritise MNP by end-2018;
Regulator confirms no room for a fourth mobile licensee;
Regulator drafts framework on MVNO licences;
Government begins $250 million investment to build 500 mobile towers to serve rural areas;
Econet launches EcoCash Ta! tap and go payment system;
Report update includes the regulator's market data to December 2017, telcos' operating and financial data to February 2018, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:
TelOne, NetOne, Econet, Telecel, TeleAccess, Afritell, Liquid Telecom, DataOne, Powertel Communications, Telco Internet, Broadlands Networks, Aquiva, Africa Online, ComOne, Ecoweb, iWay Africa (MWEB), Zimbabwe Online (ZOL), Zimbabwe Internet Service Provider Association (ZISPA), Telecontract, Dandemutande (uMax), Aptics

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