Zimbabwe’s revenues from traditional voice telephony are declining
As Zimbabwe’s revenues from the traditional voice telephony are declining
ZIMBABWE’S Econet Wireless is increasingly tapping into internet enabled communication platforms in light of declining revenues from the traditional voice telephony category and it has signed a partnership with Nasdaq-listed One Horizon Group to scrap roaming charges for Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls.
Econet, controlled by Strive Masiyiwa, whose Liquid Telecom has bought into Neotel, is one of three mobile operators in Zimbabwe that includes state-owned competitors, NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe.
International telecom group VimpelCom last year disposed of its majority stake in Telecel to the government.
Executives in telecom say mobile companies have to speedily switch focus to data enabled communication platforms to grow revenue generation streams as voice revenue stagnates.
James Myers, the chairperson of Econet Wireless, has said that the company’s “new capital investments will increasingly focus on growing data” services.
“This is happening against the backdrop of difficult economic conditions, making it harder to generate sufficient capital from the current revenue streams to invest in new businesses for the future,” he added.
Brian Collins, the chief executive of One Horizon Group, which specialises in VoIP solutions for telcos and companies, said on Friday that the new internet calling platform that Econet had kick-started “will be a new source of voice revenue” for both companies.
The new service, Econet Plus, “will remove roaming charges for users” and comes integrated with EcoCash, the Zimbabwean telco’s mobile money platform. EcoCash now has more than 5 million registered users while the Econet mobile network active user numbers have surged above 6 million, according to latest industry data.
Econet Wireless’ chief marketing officer, Navdeep Kapur, said the scrapping of roaming fees – which are a major talking point among IT experts seeking lower costs – would boost subscribers’ options through a cheaper alternative.
Fayaz King, the chief operating officer for Econet Wireless, said last week that Zimbabwean telcos were charged with “a number of barriers in terms of pricing and regulatory issues”.
However, the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe has given the thumps up to the new internet calling service by Econet Wireless, officials said. In the year to the end of February 2017, Econet Wireless after tax profits sagged from $40 million (R516.04m) to $36.1m after it paid about $23.5m in taxes.
African telecom companies are looking to connect to undersea high speed internet cables to help bring down the cost of internet-based services.
However, landlocked companies are still in a disadvantage compared to those with sea shores that can immediately connect to the under-sea cabled in terms of costs.
“Where undersea fibre-optic cable is available, Internet will generally trump all other solutions in speed, performance, and cost,” says a report on world digital trends and developments.
Strive Masiyiwa, chief executive of Econet Wireless International, disposed of its majority stake in Telecel to the government.