Mobile Money Subscriptions Plunge in Q1 2017

Zimbabwes mobile money subscriptions marginally slumped in the first quarter of 2017 by 1, 6 percent to 3, 2 million from 3, 3 million in the prior quarter.

According to the latest figures released by Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) a mobile money subscriber is a customer using mobile money services at least once in the last 3 months.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

“A total of 3, 251, 784 mobile money subscribers were active in the first quarter of 2017. This represents a 1, 6 percent decline from the 3, 303, 188 recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016.

An active mobile money subscriber is defined as a customer account that has used the mobile money service to make transactions that involve movement of value (such as cash in, cash out, bill payments, airtime top-ups etc.) at least once in the last 90 days, said the regulator.

During the period under review, Ecocash subscriber base descended by a meagre 1, 7 percent to 3,189 million from 3, 245 million in the previous quarter.

Despite Ecocash dominating the mobile money market, its competitors witnessed a growth of their subscriber bases. One Wallet posted a 65 percent surge of subscribers leaping from 8 200 to 10 000.

Telecash accumulated 52 000 in Q1 2017 compared to Q4 2016s figure of 49 500 subscribers. That said, Telecash was the only mobile financial services provider to post an increase of mobile money agents as others went the negative trend attributed to the prevalent cash crunch.

Telecash agents rose to 1, 614 in the quarter in question compared to 1, 548 in the preceding period. On the flip side of the coin, One Wallets agents dropped from 276 to 245 representing a -11, 2 percent while Ecocash had a decline of agents to 22 039 from 22 188.

A further breakdown by Potraz highlighting the decline of mobile money agents showed that active agents are supersaturated in urban areas than in the rural.

“68, 4 percent if active agents were in urban areas. Agents are more concentrated in urban ar there is more economic activity, said the regulator.

The regulator added that transactions facilitated by mobile money operators dropped to $152, 1 million due to the prevailing cash bite in Zimbabwe.

Merchant payments totaled $152 150 273. The decline in cash-in, cash-out and cross network transfers is attributed to the cash crisis in the economy, said Potraz.

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