World

Covid-19: Data usage up

TINASHE MAKICHI

Mobile internet and data traffic surged by more than half to 10.407 TB in the second quarter of the year from 6.6621 TB in the previous quarter due to the increased adoption of virtual meetings to combat the spread of Covid-19, latest statistics have shown.

The outbreak of Covid-19 has seen government coming with a raft of measures such as banning gatherings of more than 50 and making the wearing of face masks mandatory.

Companies, schools and tertiary institutions have adopted e-learning, telecommuting and e-conference as the pandemic restricts physical meetings.

In its report for Q2, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) used international internet bandwidth capacity also increased by 2.8% to record 128.173 Mbps from 124.627 Mbps recorded in the previous quarter.

“Internet/ data traffic will continue to grow due to the increased adoption of e-learning telecommuting, and e-conferencing,” Potraz said.

Total fixed voice traffic declined by 27.8% to record 80.9m minutes in the second quarter of 2020 from 112.1m minutes recorded in the first quarter of 2020 while total mobile voice minutes declined by 1.2% to record 1.31bn minutes from 1.33bn minutes recorded in the previous quarter.

Potraz noted that given the economic environment, customers have been inevitably substituting voice service with cheaper Over the Top services as WhatsApp.

Total postal and courier volumes declined by 79.7% to record 272,881 items from 1,342,957 recorded in the previous quarter. Potraz said the Covid-19 pandemic hit the postal and courier services sector the hardest as evidenced by the huge drop in volumes during the period.

“This is the lowest postal and courier volume the sector has experienced in a long time, after averaging above a million in the previous quarters.

“Postal and courier volumes declined significantly as people and businesses resorted to sending documents electronically.

There were also challenges in channelling items to and from several destinations because of lockdown policies in different countries,” Potraz said.

Revenue generated by the mobile telephone networks during the period under review grew by 45.8% to record ZWL$3bn from ZWL$2.1bn.

At the same time, total mobile network operating costs grew by 217.7% to record ZWL$16.1bn from ZWL$5.1bn recorded in the previous quarter.

Revenue generated by the fixed telephone network grew by 39.4% to record ZWL$430.4m from ZWL$308.9m while on the other hand fixed network operating costs increased by 44.4% to record ZWL$345.6m from ZWL$239.2m recorded in the previous quarter.

Internet access providers’ revenues for the period grew by 52.2% to ZWL$1.15bn from ZWL$754.3m.

Total operating costs grew by 188.4% to record ZWL$11.2bn from ZWL$3.9bn recorded in the first quarter of 2020.

Total postal and courier revenue for the period declined by 2.1% to record ZWL$69.4m from ZWL$70.9m due to the decline in mail volumes.

On the other hand, total operating costs by postal and courier operators grew by 13% to record ZWL$58.7m from ZWL$51.9m recorded in the first quarter of 2020.

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