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Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe Communication Profile



Zimbabwe’s economy continues to recover from a decade of recession under gross mismanagement by the country’s political leaders. The normalisation of Zimbabwe’s economy is reflected in the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) estimate of continuous annual GDP increase at around 4% from 2014 onwards.

Despite the in general economic difficulties in recent years, the telecom sector has shown considerable promise since the government allowed foreign currencies as alternative legal tender. Mobile penetration has increased additional than seven-fold within four years and broke the 100% penetration barrier in 2013 on the back of 3G mobile broadband subscriptions.

The three mobile networks Econet, NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe are investing in network upgrades to support data services and their fast-expanding m-commerce and m-banking facilities.

NetOne’s parent, TelOne (formerly PTC) still holds a de-facto monopoly on fixed-line services in the country. The government is planning to privatise up to 60% of TelOne and NetOne, either through an IPO or a strategic partnership with a foreign investor. TelOne has been awarded the country’s fourth mobile licence but hasn’t launched a service from presently on.

Limitations in international bandwidth for the landlocked country for a lot of years held back development of the internet and broadband sectors, but this has changed since fibre optic links to several submarine cables have been established via neighbouring territories.

Massive expansion of 3G mobile broadband services across the country has meant that additional than half of the people presently has access to the internet. The initial commercial LTE services were launched in 2013, while investment in LTE technologies, for which the regulator has assigned spectrum, continues.

Estimated market penetration rates in Zimbabwe’s telecoms sector – end-2014

Market Penetration rate
Mobile 128%
Fixed 2%
Internet 64%

(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

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