Zimbabwe’s Postal and Telecommunications sector registered a 9,2 percent revenue growth in the third quarter to September, 2018 on the back on increased usage of data and internet.

In its Postal Telecommunication Sector Performance report for the third quarter, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) said turnover grew to $435 million from $398 million in the previous quarter.

Active internet subscription rose by 7 percent to 7 690 134 from 7 197 279 recorded in second quarter.

Mobile internet and data usage increased by 21 percent to 7,395 terabytes (TB) from 6 104TB, driven by social media. “Social media continued to drive mobile data usage with WhatsApp bundles constituting 32 percent of total mobile data usage.

“At 18 719TB, mobile internet and data consumption from January to September 2018 has already exceeded 15 361TB consumed in 2017,” said POTRAZ.”

Mobile telephone revenue rose by 13,1 percent to $331,2 million from $292,9 million in quarter 2 while the penetration rate reached 91,9 percent from 87,7 percent, said POTRAZ.

Revenue from postal and courier services declined by 8,5 percent to $8,3 million from $9 million recorded in the second quarter of 2018. While the sector registered growth in revenue, operating costs rose to $250 million from $217 million.

“The growth of operating costs poses a threat to operator viability and puts pressure on prices,” said POTRAZ.

Meanwhile Potraz says it is working on measures to resuscitate the country`s struggling postal services sector.

Potraz director general Dr Gift Machengete said there had been a decline in revenue generating streams of the postal services sector. However, the regulator is in the process of crafting a business model that is in line with international practices of e-commerce as a way of reviving the sector`s performance.

“The reasons are that people are no longer writing letters as they are communicating using other means,” he said. The postal service was a letter transporting entity.

“Now because letter writing has gone down the activities for postal are (also) going down. However they are other things that a postal organisation can do.”