Zimbabwe - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Executive summary

Booming mobile and broadband market following economic liberalisation

This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Zimbabwe’s telecommunications market. Subjects covered include:

  • The impact of the economic and political crisis;
  • Key statistics;
  • Market and industry overviews;
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
  • Infrastructure development;
  • Mobile voice and data markets;
  • Average Revenue per User (ARPU);
  • Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
  • Internet and broadband development and growth, including 3G mobile;
  • Broadband services and pricing trends.

Zimbabwe’s economy is recovering from a decade of recession under gross mismanagement by its political leaders. The country’s telecom industry has been booming since the government finally allowed foreign currencies as alternative legal tender, which had already been the unofficial fuel of the local economy for years. 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.

Hundreds of millions of US dollars are being invested into the three mobile networks – Econet, NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe. 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.

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 of international bandwidth for the landlocked country have held back development of the internet and broadband sector, but this has changed since fibre optic links to several submarine cables have been established via neighbouring countries. 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.

Market highlights:

  • Booming mobile and broadband market;
  • Hundreds of millions of US dollars in network expansions;
  • TelOne, NetOne privatisation planned;
  • Fourth mobile licence in waiting.

Estimated market penetration rates in Zimbabwe’s telecoms sector – end-2014

Market
Penetration rate
Mobile
128%
Fixed
2%
Internet
64%

(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies covered 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
    • 2.1 Country overview (economy)
  • 3. Telecommunications market
    • 3.1 Overview of Zimbabwe’s telecom market
  • 4. Regulatory environment
    • 4.1 Sector Reform Policy 1996
    • 4.2 Posts and Telecommunications Act 2000
    • 4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation
      • 4.3.1 SNO licence
    • 4.4 Regulatory authority
      • 4.4.1 POTRAZ
    • 4.5 Licence fees
    • 4.6 Tariffs
    • 4.7 Interception of Communications Bill
    • 4.8 New nationalisation law 2008
    • 4.9 New ICT Strategy 2010
    • 4.10 New draft ICT Bill
    • 4.11 International gateways, interconnection
    • 4.12 Value-added tax (VAT)
    • 4.13 Universal Service Fund (USF)
    • 4.14 Fibre trenching fees
    • 4.15 Subscriber registration
    • 4.16 Per-second billing
  • 5. Fixed network operators in Zimbabwe
    • 5.1 TelOne
      • 5.1.1 Privatisation
      • 5.1.2 Fixed-line infrastructure
      • 5.1.3 Fixed-line statistics
      • 5.1.4 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 5.1.5 National fibre backbone
    • 5.2 TeleAccess Zimbabwe
    • 5.3 Afritell
  • 6. International infrastructure
    • 6.1 TelOne
    • 6.2 Liquid Telecom (Econet)
    • 6.3 Other carriers
  • 7. Broadband and Internet market
    • 7.1 Overview
      • 7.1.1 Internet statistics
    • 7.2 Public Internet access locations
    • 7.3 Data carriers
      • 7.3.1 Africom Zimbabwe
      • 7.3.2 DataOne, SatNet
      • 7.3.3 Powertel Communications
      • 7.3.4 Telco Internet
      • 7.3.5 Broadlands Networks
      • 7.3.6 Aquiva
    • 7.4 Zimbabwe’s ISP market
      • 7.4.1 Africa Online Zimbabwe
      • 7.4.2 ComOne
      • 7.4.3 Ecoweb
      • 7.4.4 iWayAfrica (MWEB)
      • 7.4.5 Zimbabwe Online (ZOL)
    • 7.5 Zimbabwe Internet Exchange (ZINX)
    • 7.6 Broadband in Zimbabwe
      • 7.6.1 ADSL
      • 7.6.2 Wireless broadband
      • 7.6.3 WiMAX
      • 7.6.4 WiFi
    • 7.7 VoIP
    • 7.8 E-commerce
    • 7.9 E-learning
  • 8. Mobile communications
    • 8.1 Overview of Zimbabwe’s mobile market
      • 8.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 8.2 Major mobile operators
      • 8.2.1 Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (EWZ)
      • 8.2.2 NetOne
      • 8.2.3 Telecel Zimbabwe
    • 8.3 Fourth mobile licence
    • 8.4 Mobile data services
    • 8.5 BlackBerry
    • 8.6 Third generation (3G)
      • 8.6.1 Econet
      • 8.6.2 Telecel
      • 8.6.3 NetOne
    • 8.7 LTE
    • 8.8 Mobile banking services
    • 8.9 Satellite mobile
  • 9. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Zimbabwe – 2014
  • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2014
  • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2014
  • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2014
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2014
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – TelOne tariffs by call type – 2009 - 2014
  • Table 8 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Zimbabwe – 1999 - 2014
  • Table 9 – Internet users and penetration rate in Zimbabwe – 2000 - 2014
  • Table 10 – DataOne leased-line tariffs – Feb. 2009
  • Table 11 – DataOne leased-line tariffs, dedicated and shared bandwidth – 2009 - 2014
  • Table 12 – ZOL broadband pricing – 2009; 2012
  • Table 13 – ZOL unlimited broadband pricing, residential vs. business – 2014
  • Table 14 – TelOne ADSL pricing – 2012; 2014
  • Table 15 – ZOL WiFi hotspot pricing – 2012 - 2014
  • Table 16 – Mobile subscriptions and penetration rate in Zimbabwe – 1999 - 2014
  • Chart 1 – Mobile subscriptions and penetration rate in Zimbabwe – 2002 - 2014
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Zimbabwe
  • Exhibit 2 – One million dollars per minute

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