Zim teledensity at 74.7%

By Alfonce Mbizwo, Harare, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s teledensity rose to 74.7% at the close of 2011, according to the latest figures from the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ).

Teledensity measures the number of active mobile phone sim cards and landlines as a percentage of the country’s total population.

Orascom’s Zimbabwe unit Telecel added on the largest number of subscribers since September last year - adding 575 000 to top 1.875 million subscribers - but Econet remains the largest mobile operator and now has 5 686 000 subscribers, up from 5.4 million in September.

State-owned NetOne also grew, adding 156 000 subscribers to its total of 1 456 000 subscribers. The latest numbers show that it is now the smallest mobile operator in the country despite being the oldest.

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has targeted an annual 10 percent growth in teledensity to 2015, which would ensure that almost all Zimbabweans would have telephone or mobile access.

Potraz’s figures also show that Zimbabwe’s struggling fixed telephone operator TelOne has lost thousands of subscribers between 2010 and 2011

Despite a virtual monopoly, TelOne’s subscriber base fell to 337 881 from 386 000, indicating a growing move towards mobile communications.

POTRAZ also disclosed that TelOne only has 2 600 customers on its ADSL service, despite being one of the cheapest sources of internet in the country.

TelOne charges USD30 for 30 gigabytes of data. In contrast, broadband IASP provider Africom charges USD18 for 1gig.

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