Zimbabwe - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Zimbabwe’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the mobile, internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure developments;
  • Major players, revenue, subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Internet, VoIP, videostreaming;
  • Mobile voice and data markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Convergence and Digital Media;
  • Mobile subscriber forecasts;
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and industry issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE).

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- July 2016 (14th Edition)

Executive Summary

Zimbabwe’s telcos agree to mobile and fixed network infrastructure sharing

Zimbabwe’s economy has seen a downturn since the fractious elections of July 2013, resulting in a significant fall in GDP growth. The contribution to GDP from the telecom sector has fallen steadily as a result. Sector revenue has 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 mobile penetration has increased rapidly, approaching 110% by mid-2016. 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 VimpelCom, 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. Plans to privatise up to 60% of TelOne and NetOne, either through an IPO or a strategic partnership with a foreign investor, remain on hold.

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. The expansion of 3G mobile broadband services across the country, and the more recent efforts to provide 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. By the end of 2015 mobile internet connections made up 95.6% of all internet connections. The number of LTE connections grew 374% in the year, reflecting the efforts made by Econet and NetOne in rolling out LTE base stations. Internet penetration increased to 48% by the end of 2015.

Growth in Zimbabwe’s mobile market has been hampered by the poor economic climate, exacerbated by recent regulatory measures affecting tariffs and taxes. These burdens have placed greater pressure on network operator revenue, which has jeopardised their ability to invest in necessary network upgrades. Annual revenue has fallen steadily during the last three years, with a near 18% fall in 2015 alone. NetOne and Econet have both invested in LTE services. The sale of the financially troubled Telecel Zimbabwe was completed in mid-2016, with the government now owing the company through its ISP Zarnet.

Key developments:

  • TelOne planning to deliver FttP to 100,000 premises by 2018;
  • Government acquires Telecel Zimbabwe from Vimpelcom, proposes consolidation of its telecom assets and business units;
  • Telcos agree to the government’s infrastructure sharing policy;
  • Telecel Zimbabwe launches Telecash mobile money service;
  • Government increases licensing tax, imposes additional levies and a customs tax on mobile handset sales;
  • Regulator’s plan to allow telcos to renew licences using annual payments opposed by the government;
  • Econet expands m-commerce, launches EcoCash Ta! tap and go payment system;
  • Regulator adjusts mobile voice tariffs effective from January 2016;
  • TelOne planning to deliver FttP to 100,000 premises by 2018;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to December 2015, telcos’ operating and financial data for fiscal 2016, 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. Key statistics
    • 1.1 Country overview
  • 2. Telecommunications market
    • 2.1 Historical overview
    • 2.2 Market analysis
  • 3. Regulatory environment
    • 3.1 Sector Reform Policy 1996
    • 3.2 Posts and Telecommunications Act 2000
    • 3.3 Telecom sector liberalisation
      • 3.3.1 SNO licence
    • 3.4 Regulatory authority
    • 3.5 Licence fees
    • 3.6 Tariffs
    • 3.7 Consumer Protection
    • 3.8 Interception of Communications Act
    • 3.9 New nationalisation law 2008
    • 3.10 ICT Strategy 2010
    • 3.11 ICT Strategy 2015
    • 3.12 New draft ICT Bill
    • 3.13 International gateways, interconnection
    • 3.14 Value-added tax (VAT)
    • 3.15 Universal Service Fund (USF)
    • 3.16 Fibre trenching fees
    • 3.17 Satellite access fees
    • 3.18 Subscriber registration
    • 3.19 Infrastructure sharing
    • 3.20 Per-second billing
    • 3.21 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
    • 3.22 Converged Licensing Framework (CLF)
  • 4. Fixed network operators
    • 4.1 TelOne
      • 4.1.1 Privatisation
      • 4.1.2 Fixed-line infrastructure
      • 4.1.3 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 4.1.4 National fibre backbone
    • 4.2 TeleAccess Zimbabwe
    • 4.3 Afritell
  • 5. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 5.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 5.2 Smart grid infrastructure
    • 5.3 International infrastructure
      • 5.3.1 TelOne
      • 5.3.2 Liquid Telecom (Econet)
      • 5.3.3 Other carriers
  • 6. Broadband market
    • 6.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 6.1.1 Market analysis
      • 6.1.2 Public Internet access locations
      • 6.1.3 Zimbabwe Internet Exchange (ZINX)
      • 6.1.4 Broadband statistics
    • 6.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Networks
      • 6.2.1 Africom Zimbabwe
      • 6.2.2 DataOne, SatNet
      • 6.2.3 Powertel Communications
      • 6.2.4 Telco Internet
      • 6.2.5 Broadlands Networks
      • 6.2.6 Aquiva
      • 6.2.7 Africa Online Zimbabwe
      • 6.2.8 ComOne
      • 6.2.9 Zarnet
      • 6.2.10 Ecoweb
      • 6.2.11 iWayAfrica (MWEB)
      • 6.2.12 Zimbabwe Online (ZOL)
    • 6.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
    • 6.4 Other fixed broadband services
      • 6.4.1 Fixed Wireless (Wi-Fi and WiMAX)
      • 6.4.2 WiMAX
      • 6.4.3 Wi-Fi
      • 6.4.4 Satellite broadband
  • 7. Digital economy
    • 7.1 E-commerce
    • 7.2 E-learning
    • 7.3 E-health
  • 8. Mobile communications
    • 8.1 Market analysis
    • 8.2 Mobile statistics
      • 8.2.1 Mobile data services
      • 8.2.2 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 8.3 Regulatory issues
      • 8.3.1 SIM card registration
      • 8.3.2 Fourth mobile licence
      • 8.3.3 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 8.3.4 Network sharing
      • 8.3.5 Spectrum auction
    • 8.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 8.4.1 Digital networks
      • 8.4.2 Other infrastructure developments
    • 8.5 Major mobile operators
      • 8.5.1 Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (EWZ)
      • 8.5.2 NetOne
      • 8.5.3 Telecel Zimbabwe
      • 8.5.4 Mobile Virtual Network operators (MVNOs)
    • 8.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 8.6.1 Money transfer, m-banking
      • 8.6.2 M-commerce
    • 8.7 Mobile handsets
    • Table 1 – Country statistics Zimbabwe – 2015 (e)
    • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2015
    • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2016
    • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2015
    • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2015
    • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
    • Table 7 – TelOne financial data – 2012 - 2015
    • Table 8 – TelOne revenue by type financial data – 2014 - 2015
    • Table 9 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Zimbabwe – 1999 - 2009
    • Table 10 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Zimbabwe – 2010 - 2016
    • Table 11 – Fixed-line telephony revenue – 2013 - 2015
    • Table 12 – International bandwidth – 2000 - 2015
    • Table 13 – International bandwidth by operator – Q4 2015
    • Table 14 – Internet access revenue and investment– 2013 - 2016
    • Table 15 – Internet users and penetration rate in Zimbabwe – 2000 - 2016
    • Table 16 – Fixed-line internet subscribers and penetration in Zimbabwe – 2000 - 2016
    • Table 17 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers and penetration in Zimbabwe – 2001 - 2016
    • Table 18 – Internet subscribers – 2013 - 2016
    • Table 19 – DSL broadband subscribers – 2012 - 2016
    • Table 20 – ComOne broadband subscribers – 2012 - 2015
    • Table 21 – Ecoweb broadband subscribers – 2012 - 2016
    • Table 22 – Ecoweb revenue – 2013 - 2016
    • Table 23 – Mobile market revenue – 2013 - 2015
    • Table 24 – Base stations in service by technology – 2013 - 2015
    • Table 25 – Market share of base stations by operator – 2015
    • Table 26 – Historic - Mobile subscriptions and penetration rate in Zimbabwe – 1999 - 2009
    • Table 27 – Mobile subscriptions and penetration rate in Zimbabwe – 20105 - 2016
    • Table 28 – Active mobile subscriptions by operator– 2014 - 2015
    • Table 29 – Active mobile subscriptions – 2014 - 2015
    • Table 30 – Operator share of active mobile subscriptions – 2013 - 2015
    • Table 31 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2009 - 2016
    • Table 32 – LTE mobile internet subscribers – 2014 - 2015
    • Table 33 – Econet Wireless financial data – 2010 - 2016
    • Table 34 – Econet Wireless data revenue – 2010 - 2016
    • Table 35 – Econet Wireless subscribers – 2010 - 2016
    • Table 36 – NetOne active mobile subscribers – 2011 - 2015
    • Table 37 – Telecel mobile subscribers – 2011 - 2015
    • Table 38 – Econet Wireless EcoCash subscribers – 2011 - 2016
    • Table 39 – Econet Wireless EcoCash revenue – 2013 - 2016
    • Table 40 – Econet Wireless EcoCash transactions – 2013 - 2016
    • Table 41 – Econet Wireless EcoCash agents – 2013 - 2016
    • Table 42 – M-money market share by operator – 2015
    • Table 43 – Mobile money market data – 2013 - 2015
    • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Zimbabwe – 2005 – 2016
    • Chart 2 – Mobile subscriptions and penetration rate in Zimbabwe – 2005 - 2016
    • Chart 3 – Econet Wireless financial data – 2010 – 2016
    • Exhibit 1 – Map of Zimbabwe
    • Exhibit 2 – One million dollars per minute

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