Zimbabwe was once recorded nation with World’s fastest mobile penetration, around 2008 it jumped from 8% to 37%, come 2013 we recorded the highest ever of 106%, We should have been doing something right, especially in terms of policy toward mobile access during those years
Today we are amongst the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. The growth can be attributed to a number of factors chief among them affordable mobile voice calls and sim cards purchase.
Mobile penetration rate has since 2014 been on an upward trend hovering in the region of between 90-100%. Most Zimbabweans across the country actually find communication as a basic need, not a luxury thereby making it a priority and as a result, mobile voice calls have remained in the mix.
According to Potraz Sector Performance reports since 2014 mobile penetration in the country has been far from below average and from the period under review 2017 has recorded the highest active subscribers with 14.09 million Net-on-Net mobile voice traffic also been registering growth with the highest growth of 20.5% in 2018. This is attributable to the current promotions offering bonus minutes for net-on-net calls. Voice promotions have become an integral part of the equation as they offer an alternate and relief to those who find broadband data expensive.
Zimbabwe has been facing a myriad of economic hardships for the past two decades but the people still manage to make telecommunications a top priority. Not everyone in the country is using a cellphone but at least it means that we have a larger percentage of users as an individual can afford to have a minimum of two handsets or two sim cards.
In addition, the cost of access to mobile devices has also become affordable with a proliferation of different devices ranging from small feature mobiles devices to the latest smartphones. Most of these devices are imitations and fake brands coming mainly from Asia. Local mobile manufacturers such as Gtel and Astro Mobile have seen potential in the growing mobile explosion and introduced a plethora of devices that have in a way aided the mobile ecosystem through cheaper ways of accessing mobile phones such as buying on credit and reasonable instalments.
In a period where internet provision is dominant, voice calls have maintained steady growth and the growth consideration may be attributed to affordability and priority. According to the International Telecommunications Union, Mobile access to basic telecommunication services is becoming ever more predominant. While fixed-telephone subscriptions continue to decline with a penetration rate of 12.4 per cent in 2018, the number of mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions is greater than the global population. Growth in mobile cellular subscriptions in the last five years was driven by countries in the Asia-Pacific and Africa regions.