Zimbabwe’s internet penetration rate has declined for the first time in the past year to 45 percent following a decline in active internet subscribers.

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internet

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Statistics from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe show that internet connectivity was down 2,5 percent in the period from 47,5 percent in the third quarter of 2014.

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“The decline in internet subscribers is mostly attributed to the decline in Telecel and Econet’s active mobile internet subscriptions. An active internet subscriber is one who has used the network to access the internet within the past 90 days,” Potraz said.

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The country’s internet penetration rate has been on an upward trend growing from 41,9 percent in Q4 2013 to 43,1 percent in the first quarter of 2014. The rate went up to 47 percent in the second quarter and subsequently to 47,5 percent in the following quarter.

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In the period under review, the number of active internet subscriptions declined by 5,2 percent to 5,9 million subscribers from 6,2 million subscribers recorded in the previous quarter.

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Year on year, figures shows that internet subscriptions grew by 7,4 percent to 5 879 552 subscriptions from 5 472 710 recorded at the end of 2013.

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Potraz said total revenues generated by Internet Access Providers (IAPs) increased by 7 percent in the period under review to $31,3 million from $29,3 million generated in the previous quarter.

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However, investment in internet connectivity declined by 4,5 percent to $10,8 million from $11,3 million recorded in the previous quarter.

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An annual comparison of IAP revenues shows that revenue generated in 2014 increased by 15,4 percent to $117,2 million from $101,6 million recorded in the same period in 2013.

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Annual investment also increased by 36,3 percent to $38,9 million from $28,5 million in 2013. The bulk of the investment was in optic fibre.

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Zimbabwe remains one of the countries with the highest internet penetration rates on the continent and analysts believe the country could lead growth of internet in Africa and contribute significantly to the economy.