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Zimbabwe’s mobile operators make base station investment count

Zimbabwe’s mobile operators make base station investment count.

The number of 3G base stations built in Zimbabwe has shot up to 1 300 while 2G base stations have also increased to 3 284. According to a new periodic report by the country's industry regulator this has helped to raise mobile telecom industry revenues, subscriber numbers and the country's internet penetration rate.

Zimbabwe's three mobile telecommunications companies – Econet Wireless, Telecel Zimbabwe and NetOne – built 40 new 3G base stations and 75 additional 2G base stations during the third quarter period to September 2014.

This had helped to marginally boost mobile subscriber numbers and resulted in a slight increase in the mobile internet penetration rate, data from the regulator shows.

The total number of active mobile subscribers for the third quarter period "increased by 2.6 percent to reach 11.4 million from 11.1 million subscribers recorded in the previous" quarter, said the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) in its report for the quarter.

The additional base stations also helped marginally push up Zimbabwe's internet penetration rate.

"Internet penetration rate increased by 0.5 percent to reach 47.5 percent from 47 percent recorded in the previous quarter."

Telecel Zimbabwe, majority owned by Russia's VimpelCom, saw a dip in subscriber numbers which declined by 2.1 percent to 2.2 million, while NetOne has secured second spot in terms of subscriber numbers after it raised network user numbers by 13.8% to 2.7 million.

Active subscriber numbers on Econet grew 2.1% to 6.4 million.

Despite earlier fears that mobile companies in Zimbabwe were taking a knock from declining voice telephony activity, revenues generated by the three mobile operators during the review period jumped by 9% to $247 million.

The country's three telcos are increasingly investing in data platforms to broaden their revenue streams. Total investment into the industry surged 53% to $46 million compared to the previous quarter.

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