Internet, data volumes surge

…  as Covid-19 bites


The  mobile internet  and data traffic increased  by 29.9% to 21,865 terabytes  during the  first quarter  of 2021  from 16,834 terabytes  during the fourth quarter  of 2020 due to the  working  from home  policy adopted by the  companies to lessen the spread  of Covid-19.

There are fears that the rising Covid-19 cases could force the authorities to embark on a lockdown causing more companies to consume more data and the internet.

In his first quarter report, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) director general Gift  Machengete said the high internet usage came  with the high consumption from schools and companies.

“Mobile Internet and data traffic increased by 29.9% to 21,865 Terabytes in the first quarter of 2021 from 16,834Terabytes recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020.  Used International incoming bandwidth capacity also increased by 9.3% to record 174,645Mbps from 159,665Mbps recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020. Internet and data traffic are expected to continue growing due to the increased adoption of e learning, telecommuting, and e-conferencing,” Machengete said.

Total mobile operator revenues grew by 12.3% to ZWL$13.8bn from ZWL$12.3bn during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Operating costs grew by 32.9% to ZWL$7.6bn from ZWL$5.7bn   during the fourth quarter of 2020. 

Revenue generated by the fixed telephone network grew by 11.6% to ZWL$1.57bn   from ZWL$1.4bn.

On the other hand, fixed network operating costs increased by 76.1% to ZWL$1.37bn from ZWL$775.2m during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Internet access providers revenues grew by 48.9% to ZWL$6.8bn from ZWL$4.6bn.

The total operating costs for IAPs grew by 26.6% to ZWL$3.2bn   from ZWL$2.5bn. Postal and courier revenues increased by 5.1% to record ZWL$158.4m from ZWL$150.7m recorded in the previous quarter. 

Operating costs grew by 31.7% to ZWL$187m from ZWL$142m recorded during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Machengete said the total number of active internet and data subscriptions increased by 1.7% to 9,029,644 from 8,875,649 recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020due to internet penetration rate which increased by 0.2% to reach 61.1% from 60.9% in the previous quarter.

Active fixed telephone lines declined by 1% to record 249,486 from252,067 recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020. However, the fixed tele-density remained at 1.7%. 

Active mobile telephone subscriptions also declined by 1.7% to 13m subscribers in the first quarter of 2021 from 13.2m recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020.

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