Zimbabwe - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Zimbabwe’s government proposes mobile network infrastructure sharing

Zimbabwe’s economy continues to recover from a decade of recession under gross mismanagement by the country’s political leaders. The normalisation of Zimbabwe’s economy is reflected in the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) forecast of continuous annual GDP growth at around 4% from 2014 onwards. Despite the overall economic difficulties in recent years, the telecom sector has shown considerable promise since the government allowed foreign currencies as alternative legal tender. Mobile penetration has increased more than seven-fold within four years and broke the 100% penetration barrier in 2013 on the back of 3G mobile broadband subscriptions.

The three mobile networks Econet, NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe are investing in network upgrades to support data services and their fast-expanding m-commerce and m-banking facilities.

NetOne’s parent, TelOne (formerly PTC) still holds a de-facto monopoly on fixed-line services in the country. The government is planning to privatise up to 60% of TelOne and NetOne, either through an IPO or a strategic partnership with a foreign investor. TelOne has been awarded the country’s fourth mobile licence but hasn’t launched a service yet.

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. Massive expansion of 3G mobile broadband services across the country has 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, continues.

Estimated market penetration rates in Zimbabwe’s telecoms sector – end-2015 (e)

Market
Penetration rate
Mobile
108%
Fixed
2.8%
Internet
48%

(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Key developments:

  • Liquid telecom extends wholesale FttP services to Victoria Falls;
  • Brainworks Capital withdraws bid for Telecel;
  • TelOne expands fibre footprint, expands WiFi infrastructure in Harare;
  • Econet expands m-commerce;
  • New ICT policy to be submitted, revising the 2010 plan;
  • Regulator reduces mobile voice tariffs effective from January 2015;
  • ICT Ministry revokes Telecel’s licence for failing to pay $137.5 million debt and licence fee;
  • TelOne providing satellite broadband with Avanti Communications;
  • Renegotiated USF contribution hampering the regulator's ability to resource $62 million in mobile and broadband projects;
  • Telecel Zimbabwe launches Telecash mobile money service;
  • Government increases licensing tax, imposes additional levies and a customs tax on mobile handset sales;
  • Mobile and broadband market continue strong growth;
  • TelOne and NetOne privatisation planned;
  • Fourth mobile licence in progress;
  • Report update includes regulator’s market data to September 2014, telcos’ operating and financial data, 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.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 The market in 2015
    • 4.2 Historic overview
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Sector Reform Policy 1996
    • 5.2 Posts and Telecommunications Act 2000
    • 5.3 Telecom sector liberalisation
      • 5.3.1 SNO licence
    • 5.4 Regulatory authority
      • 5.4.1 POTRAZ
    • 5.5 Licence fees
    • 5.6 Tariffs
    • 5.7 Interception of Communications Bill
    • 5.8 New nationalisation law 2008
    • 5.9 ICT Strategy 2010
    • 5.10 ICT Strategy 2015
    • 5.11 New draft ICT Bill
    • 5.12 International gateways, interconnection
    • 5.13 Value-added tax (VAT)
    • 5.14 Universal Service Fund (USF)
    • 5.15 Fibre trenching fees
    • 5.16 Satellite access fees
    • 5.17 Subscriber registration
      • 5.17.1 Infrastructure sharing
    • 5.18 Per-second billing
    • 5.19 Mobile tariffs – 2015
    • 5.20 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • 6. Fixed network operators
    • 6.1 TelOne
      • 6.1.1 Privatisation
      • 6.1.2 Fixed-line infrastructure
      • 6.1.3 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 6.1.4 National fibre backbone
    • 6.2 TeleAccess Zimbabwe
    • 6.3 Afritell
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Fixed-line statistics
    • 7.2 Smart grid infrastructure
  • 8. International infrastructure
    • 8.1 TelOne
    • 8.2 Liquid Telecom (Econet)
    • 8.3 Other carriers
  • 9. Broadband market
    • 9.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 9.1.1 Broadband statistics
    • 9.2 Public Internet access locations
    • 9.3 Data carriers
      • 9.3.1 Africom Zimbabwe
      • 9.3.2 DataOne, SatNet
      • 9.3.3 Powertel Communications
      • 9.3.4 Telco Internet
      • 9.3.5 Broadlands Networks
      • 9.3.6 Aquiva
    • 9.4 ISP market
      • 9.4.1 Africa Online Zimbabwe
      • 9.4.2 ComOne
      • 9.4.3 Ecoweb
      • 9.4.4 iWayAfrica (MWEB)
      • 9.4.5 Zimbabwe Online (ZOL)
    • 9.5 Zimbabwe Internet Exchange (ZINX)
    • 9.6 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Networks
    • 9.7 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
    • 9.8 Fixed Wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
      • 9.8.1 WiMAX
      • 9.8.2 WiFi
      • 9.8.3 Satellite broadband
  • 10. Digital Economy
    • 10.1 E-commerce
    • 10.2 E-learning
  • 11. Mobile communications
    • 11.1 Market analysis - 2015
      • 11.1.1 Mobile statistics
      • 11.1.2 Mobile data services
      • 11.1.3 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 11.2 Regulatory issues
      • 11.2.1 SIM card registration
      • 11.2.2 700MHz spectrum auction
      • 11.2.3 Fourth mobile licence
      • 11.2.4 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 11.2.5 Mobile tariffs - 2015
      • 11.2.6 Network sharing
      • 11.2.7 Spectrum auction - 2015
    • 11.3 Mobile infrastructure
      • 11.3.1 Digital networks
      • 11.3.2 Other infrastructure developments
    • 11.4 Major mobile operators
      • 11.4.1 Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (EWZ)
      • 11.4.2 NetOne
      • 11.4.3 Telecel Zimbabwe
    • 11.5 Mobile content and applications
      • 11.5.1 Money transfer, m-banking
      • 11.5.2 M-commerce
  • 12. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Zimbabwe – 2014
  • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2015
  • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – TelOne tariffs by call type – 2009 - 2015
  • Table 8 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Zimbabwe – 1999 - 2004
  • Table 9 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Zimbabwe – 2005 - 2015
  • Table 10 – International bandwidth – 2000 - 2014
  • Table 11 – Internet users and penetration rate in Zimbabwe – 2000 - 2015
  • Table 12 – Fixed-line internet subscribers and penetration in Zimbabwe – 2000 - 2015
  • Table 13 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers and penetration in Zimbabwe – 2001 - 2015
  • Table 14 – Ecoweb broadband subscribers – 2012 - 2015
  • Table 15 – Ecoweb revenue – 2013 - 2015
  • Table 16 – ZOL unlimited broadband pricing, residential vs. business – 2015
  • Table 17 – TelOne ADSL pricing – 2012; 2015
  • Table 18 – ADSL broadband subscribers – 2012 - 2015
  • Table 19 – ZOL WiFi hotspot pricing – 2015
  • Table 20 – Mobile market revenue – 2013 - 2014
  • Table 21 – Base stations in service – September 2014
  • Table 22 – Historic - Mobile subscriptions and penetration rate in Zimbabwe – 1999 - 2004
  • Table 23 – Mobile subscriptions and penetration rate in Zimbabwe – 2005 - 2015
  • Table 24 – Active mobile subscriptions in Zimbabwe – September 2014
  • Table 25 – Operator share of active mobile subscriptions – September 2014
  • Table 26 – Operator share of active mobile subscriptions – 2013 - 2014
  • Table 27 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2009 - 2015
  • Table 28 – Regulated mobile tariffs – January 2015
  • Table 29 – Econet Wireless financial data – 2010 - 2015
  • Table 30 – Econet Wireless data revenue – 2010 - 2015
  • Table 31 – Econet Wireless subscribers – 2010 - 2015
  • Table 32 – NetOne mobile subscribers – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 33 – Telecel mobile subscribers – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 34 – Econet Wireless EcoCash subscribers – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 35 – Econet Wireless EcoCash revenue – 2013 - 2014
  • Table 36 – Econet Wireless EcoCash transactions – 2013 - 2014
  • Table 37 – M-money market share by operator – 2014
  • Table 38 – Mobile money market data – 2013 - 2014
  • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Zimbabwe – 2005 – 2015
  • Chart 2 – Mobile subscriptions and penetration rate in Zimbabwe – 2005 - 2015
  • Chart 3 – Econet Wireless financial data – 2010 – 2015
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Zimbabwe
  • Exhibit 2 – One million dollars per minute

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