Tawanda Musarurwa Business Reporter
The country is still very limited in internet usage, with only about half of the population accessing internet services, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ)’s latest quarterly report shows.
According to IGI Global, internet penetration essentially refers to “the portion of the population that has access to the internet”.
And the indications are not good for Zimbabwe, with the POTRAZ report showing that internet penetration rate declined by 0,1 percent to reach 50 percent from 50,1 percent recorded in the third quarter.
This means that over half of Zimbabwe’s population of circa 14 million do not have access to internet services.
This is despite the fact that about 94 percent of that population has access to mobile phones, and in addition to that mobile data utilisation increased by 19 percent to record 2 567 401 044 megabytes (MB) from 2 157 903 415MB (1 771, 9 terabytes) recorded in the third quarter of 2016.
In terms of data and internet access outside mobile telecommunications, the POTRAZ report showed that the total number of active internet subscriptions declined by 0,2 percent to reach 6,72 million from 6,73 million as at September 30, 2016.
This was due to a decline in CDMA and ADSL subscriptions, noted the regulator.
The report also shows that of the total mobile internet and data subscriptions, 211 566 accessed and used LTE in the quarter under review, a 23 percent increase from 205 082 subscribers recorded in the third quarter of last year.
And 99,4 percent of those who used LTE in the fourth quarter of were telecoms operator, Econet Wireless’ subscribers.
POTRAZ expects the use of LTE to improve as coverage and smartphone penetration increases.
Meanwhile, the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots increased by 7,3 percent to reach 877 from 817 recorded in the previous quarter.
During the period, however, internet firms saw an increase in revenues.
“Revenues generated by Internet Access Providers (IAPs) increased by 3,8 percent to record $40,8 million from $39,3 million in the previous quarter,” reads part of the report.
Investment by the IAPs jumped by 53,4 percent to record $10,8 million from $7 million in the third quarter.