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Saturday, Jan 25th

Telecel Zimbabwe subscriptions take a knock

ethiopiacall 300 225Telecel has been on a drive to boost numbers this past year.  

Zimbabwean mobile operator, Telecel Zimbabwe lost 375 000 subscribers during the first quarter of this year.

This was shown in the latest statistics from the country's telecommunications sector regulator, the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe.

The company, which now also offers mobile internet connectivity and tele-tunes for its subscribers, has been on a drive to boost subscriber numbers in the past year.

Subscribers on the Telecel Zimbabwe network are given free airtime equivalent to the amount of airtime purchased although this applies only to Telecel to Telecel calls.

In addition, the company has just initiated a credit airtime scheme, where subscribers who run out of airtime can purchase $1 worth of airtime on credit and then pay back when they top up their airtime.

But it seems all this, as well as the reduction of sim-cards to $0.50 cents, against average market sim card prices of $2, has failed to lure subscribers from the other networks.

A telecoms analyst at a research firm said the POTRAZ statistics do not reflect much, saying subscribers who have multiple sim-cards distort the stats numbers.

"The fact that we have multiple-sim card holders distorts the whole issue and these figures are in doubt. But this is an indication that Zimbabwean mobile phone users are looking for operators with value and not just promotions," said the analyst.

Telecel's total subscriber numbers have now dropped to 1.5 million, according to the POTRAZ statistics.

In stark contrast, Telecel's rival operator, Econet Wireless who shelved its Kenyan expansion plans - added on an additional 714,000 subscribers during the first quarter period.

State run Net*One, has now overtaken Telecel to become the second biggest telecoms company after adding on 144 000 more subscribers to its network. Net*One now has 1.6 million subscribers on its network.

The statistics also show that Zimbabwe's tele-density is now at an all-time high of 78.8%. The tele-density is an analysis of active sim cards measured against the country's overall population.

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