Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE total value of transactions on mobile money platforms increased by 16.3 percent to $533 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2015.
In its latest quarterly report for the period ended December 31, 2015, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority Zimbabwe (Potraz) revealed that the number of mobile money subscribers also increased by 9.9 percent to reach 7.3 million.
In the previous quarter, mobile money subscribers totalled 6.7 million. During the period under review, Zimbabwe’s active internet subscriptions increased by eight percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, rising to 6,5 million.
In the previous quarter (September 2015), active internet subscriptions were at six million.
During the period under review, Potraz said the national internet penetration rate also rose by 1.5 percent from 46.6 percent in the third quarter to 48.1 percent.
This was largely driven by mobile broadband connections that have been on the growth trajectory courtesy of the continued investments in technologies like 2G and 3G from all operators, as well as the new drive for LTE which was being led by NetOne and Econet.
“The total value of transactions on mobile money platforms increased by 16.3 percent to record $533 million from $458,4 million recorded in the previous quarter. The number of mobile money subscribers also increased by 9.9 percent to reach 7.3 million subscriptions from 6.7 million subscribers recorded in the previous quarter,” said Potraz in the report.
An economic commentator, Bongani Ngwenya, attributed the sharp rise in mobile money transfer transactions to the effectiveness and efficiency brought by the mobile money transfer services compared to the banking system.
“As a result of the simplicity and efficiency that people get from mobile money transfer services, the total value of transactions is increasing. Obviously from an economic point of view, consumers are rational because of the simplicity and efficiency they get from mobile money platforms,” he said.
Another economic commentator, Chipo Warikandwa, said the increase in the total number of transactions on mobile money platforms was a clear indication that the system has attracted a number of people as the service facilitates the flow of transactions efficiently.
She challenged the banking sector to become innovative so that it remains relevant on the market.
Peter Mhaka, another economic commentator, said the mobile money transfer service has also been absorbed at businesses level because of the efficiency and effectiveness of the platform compared to the traditional banking system.
The number of agents also increased by 11.7 percent to reach 33,259 from 29,775 agents recorded in the previous quarter. A total of $2.3 million was transferred across the three mobile networks representing 0.4 percent of total transactions.