Senior Business Reporter
MOBILE Internet and data traffic increased by 30 percent in the first quarter ended March 2021 due to increased adoption of digital platforms.
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) revealed this in a latest telecommunications sector performance report.
The Covid-19 pandemic has magnified the significance of information communication technologies (ICTs) in all aspects of life, said the regulator, noting how Internet usage has spiked recently.
“Mobile Internet and data traffic increased by 29,9 percent to record 21 865 Terabytes in the first quarter of 2021 from 16 834 Terabytes recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020,” said Potraz.
“Used international incoming bandwidth capacity also increased by 9,3 percent to record 174 645Mbps from 159 665Mbps recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020.
“Internet and data traffic are expected to continue growing due to the increased adoption of e-learning, telecommuting, and e-conferencing.”
Potraz said the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, which buttresses the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which identifies the digital economy as a key pillar.
“Notwithstanding the above, foreign currency shortages will continue to bedevil the economy at large, with implications on network expansion, upgrade and maintenance,” said the regulator.
“This negatively affects quality of service standards, which will further be compromised by anticipated increase in demand, in particular for data/Internet.
“Foreign currency constraints will also continue to stall universal access/service projects targeted at rolling out connectivity in unserved and under-served areas, most of which are in rural areas.”
During the period under review, active internet and data subscriptions increased by 1,7 percent to reach nine million from 8,88 million recorded in the fourth quarter of last year.
As a result, internet penetration rate increased by 0,2 percent to reach 61,1 percent from 60,9 percent in the previous quarter. Active fixed telephone lines declined by one percent to record 249 486 from 252 067 recorded in the fourth quarter of last year.
However, the fixed tele-density remained at 1,7 percent while active mobile telephone subscriptions declined by 1,7 percent to 13 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2021, from 13,2 million recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020.