Zimbabwe - Telecoms Infrastructure, Operators, Regulations - Statistics and Analyses


Zimbabwe’s economy has seen a downturn since the fractious elections of July 2013, resulting in a significant fall in GDP growth until recovery returned in 2017. The contribution to GDP from the telecom sector fell steadily as a result. Sector revenue has also come under pressure from a number of recent regulatory measures and taxes imposed by the cash-strapped government. Nevertheless, the telecom sector shows some promise, particularly from the mobile sector where active mobile penetration has increased rapidly, reaching 93% by early 2019. The three mobile network operators Econet Wireless, NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe continue to invest in network upgrades to support data services and their fast-expanding m-commerce and m-banking facilities. Telecel was recently acquired by the government from VEON, and the financial demands required for investment has jeopardised resources potentially available to the incumbent telco TelOne, (formerly PTC), which still holds a de-facto monopoly on fixed-line services in the country.

The government in April 2019 outlined its plans to merge TelOne and NetOne and sell off a majority stake in the operator as part of a wider plan to offset state debt.

Limitations in international bandwidth for the landlocked country for many years held back development of the internet and broadband sectors, but this has changed after fibre optic links to several submarine cables were established via neighbouring territories. The expansion of 3G mobile broadband services across the country, and the more recent efforts to extend LTE services, have 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 in the 700MHz band, continues. In addition, since mid-2018 the government and regulator have considered implementing a technology-neutral regime in a bid to ease licensee investment in emerging technologies, including 5G.

Key developments:

  • Government planning TelOne with NetOne and selling a majority stake in the two;
  • Draft legislation issued to repeal Post and Telecommunications Act;
  • Regulator proposes to create a new Virtual Network Operator (VNO) license category;
  • Telcos agree to the government's infrastructure sharing policy;
  • VEON sells debt-laden unit Telecel to state-owned ISP Zarnet for $40 million;
  • Renegotiated USF contribution hampering the regulator's ability to resource $62 million in mobile and broadband projects;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data to December 2018, telcos' operating and financial data to August 2018, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, 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

  • Key statistics

  • Country overview

  • Telecommunications market

    • Historical overview
    • Market analysis
  • Regional Africa Market Comparison

    • TMI vs GDP
    • Mobile and mobile broadband
    • Fixed and mobile broadband
  • Regulatory environment

    • Sector Reform Policy 1996
    • Posts and Telecommunications Act 2000
    • Telecom sector liberalisation
      • SNO licence
      • Privatisation
    • Regulatory authority
    • Licence fees
    • ICT Strategy 2010
    • ICT Strategy 2015
    • National Policy for ICT Act 2016
    • International gateways, interconnection
    • Value-added tax (VAT)
    • Universal Service Fund (USF)
    • Subscriber registration
    • Infrastructure sharing
    • Converged Licensing Framework (CLF)
  • Fixed network operators

    • TelOne
      • Fixed-line infrastructure
      • Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • National fibre backbone
    • TeleAccess Zimbabwe
    • Afritell
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • Overview of the national telecom network
    • Smart grid infrastructure
    • International infrastructure
      • TelOne
      • Liquid Telecom (Econet)
      • Other carriers
      • Data centres
      • Internet Exchange Point (IXP)
  • Related reports

List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities – Zimbabwe – 2018
  • Table 2 – TelOne financial data – 2012 – 2017
  • Table 3 – TelOne revenue by type – 2014 – 2017
  • Table 4 – National backbone fibre length – 2013 – 2017
  • Table 5 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Zimbabwe – 1999 – 2009
  • Table 6 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Zimbabwe – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 7 – Fixed-line telephony revenue – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 8 – Fixed-line voice traffic – 2012 – 2018
  • Table 9 – International bandwidth – 2000 – 2018
  • Table 10 – International bandwidth by operator –2015 – 2018

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Overall Africa view - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita – 2018
  • Chart 2 – East Africa - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita – 2018
  • Chart 3 – Africa – Middle-tier Telecoms Maturity Index (Market Leaders) – 2018
  • Chart 4 – East Africa –Telecoms Maturity Index by country – 2018
  • Chart 5 – East Africa mobile subscriber penetration versus mobile broadband penetration – 2018
  • Chart 6 – East Africa fixed and mobile penetration rates – 2018
  • Chart 7 – TelOne financial data – 2012 – 2017
  • Chart 8 – TelOne revenue by type – 2014 – 2017
  • Chart 9 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Zimbabwe – 2005 – 2019

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Zimbabwe
  • Exhibit 2 – Generalised Market Characteristics by Market Segment
  • Exhibit 3 – East Africa - Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country

Related Reports

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Licence Information

Focus Report Profile


Companies (Major Players)
Regulations & Government Policies
Telecoms Infrastructure

Number of pages 64

Status Current

Last updated 2 May 2019
Update History

Analyst: Henry Lancaster

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