Recent report by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) on telecommunications statistics shows a significant decrease on the national internet penetration rate.
Current statistics shows that Zimbabwe’s internet penetration rate has dropped for the first time in the past years. This could have been so following a decline in active mobile subscribers which are also part of the internet community plus an introduction of other Over The Top services (OTTs) forcing a radical change within the online culture.
By Gift Chirauro
Statistics from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe show that internet connectivity was down 2, 5 percent in the period from 47, 5 percent in the third quarter of 2014.
The decline in internet subscribers is mostly attributed to the decline in Telecel and Econet’s active mobile internet subscriptions. An active internet subscriber is one who has used the network to access the internet within the past 90 days,” POTRAZ said.
In the period under review, the number of active internet subscriptions declined by 5,2 percent to 5,9 million subscribers from 6,2 million subscribers recorded in the previous quarter.
Year on year, figures shows that internet subscriptions grew by 7,4 percent to 5 879 552 subscriptions from 5 472 710 recorded at the end of 2013.
Compared to telephones or the postal service, the internet has proved to be a superpower in providing perhaps the easiest and cheapest way of communication between Zimbabweans in the country and their relatives, some of whom have gone abroad in search of greener pastures.
Globally, the reach of internet and ICTs is extensive. In Africa, Zimbabwe in particular? Not so much. There is need for internet and ICT service providers in the country to extend services to the rural areas and the remote towns. And there is also a critical need for a more affordable service, even for those who are currently accessing internet presently
The country’s internet penetration rate has been on an upward trend growing from 41,9 percent in Q4 2013 to 43,1 percent in the first quarter of 2014. The rate went up to 47 percent in the second quarter and subsequently to 47,5 percent in the following quarter.
However, with the industry experiencing a drop, the three mobile networks Econet, NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe are investing so much in network upgrades so that they can be able to
support data services and their fast-expanding m-commerce and m-banking facilities.