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Econet cements market dominance

14 December 2022

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has maintained its market leadership in the number of subscribers, voice traffic and network infrastructure investment, latest sector performance shows.

According to Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) third-quarter Sector Performance Report, Econet increased its active subscribers by 6.9% to 9 753 620 in the third quarter of 2022, up from 9 125 792 in the second quarter.

The report says in the same period, State-owned mobile network operator NetOne lost 1.6% of its subscribers, closing the quarter at 4 339 133, while Telecel gained 0.1% to 469 489 subscribers.

Consequently, a 4% growth in total active mobile telephone subscriptions across the three major networks was recorded in the third quarter, as active subscriptions reached 14 562 242, up from 14 006 034 recorded in the previous quarter.

“Econet gained subscriber market share by 1.8% to 67%. Conversely, NetOne and Telecel lost subscriber market share by 1.7% (to 29.8%) and 0.1% (to 3.2%) respectively in the third quarter of 2022,” the Potraz report said.

The regulator noted that the third quarter was characterised by significant growth in mobile voice traffic driven by Econet.

This was after overall mobile voice traffic increased by 31.2%, to record 3.08 billion minutes, from 2.35 billion minutes recorded in the second quarter of 2022.

“The increase in overall mobile voice traffic was driven by net-on-net traffic due to promotional offerings. On the other hand, international voice as well as roaming traffic recorded significant decline,” Potraz said.

This resulted in Econet gaining voice traffic market share by 0.2%, to close the period under review at 75.2%, NetOne lost 0.2% to finish at 24% while Telecel’s market share remained constant at 0.8%.

According to the report, mobile internet and data usage increased by 26.1% to record 32,473.1TB in the third quarter of 2022, from 25,756TB recorded in the second quarter of 2022.

Econet maintained its mobile internet and data market share at 77.6% in the third quarter despite taking a 4.6% dip from the previous quarter.

NetOne gained Internet and data usage market share by a margin of 4.9, while Telecel lost market share by 0.3%.

In terms of mobile base station infrastructure, Econet maintained its 53% market share, with the company installing Zimbabwe’s first 5G base stations in various cities and towns during the year.

“There have been no major shifts in base station market shares over the years,” said Potraz.

“The positions remain constant, with Econet being dominant in all technologies, that are, 2G, 3G and LTE. They are also the first operator to roll out 5G. Nevertheless, NetOne has been making strides in improving their 3G and LTE coverage,” Potraz said in the report.

Gift Machengete, the Potraz director general, said the telecommunications sector has continued to grow as more services move to the digital space, contributing to increased demand and consumption of telecommunication services.

“This growth has been supported by the availability of the Internet, which is increasingly becoming more accessible across the country. The sector is expected to grow exponentially with increased adoption of ICTs, operator investment and innovation efforts, as well as the Authority’s efforts to close the digital divide,” Machengete said.