The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has reported an increase in the number of mobile data users and mobile phone subscriptions which industry players claim is as a result of increased levels of investment in the sector.
According to the 2020 mid-year market report released by ZICTA corporate communications manager Ngabo Nankonde, the total number of active mobile internet users increased from 9.1 million recorded in the first half of 2019 to 9.5 million reported at the end of June 2020, reflecting a 3.6% increase.
Consequently, the report said the internet penetration rate increased from 52.6% to 52.9% between June 2019 and June 2020.
The country also recorded significant growth in the number of mobile network subscriptions from 93.8% recorded at the end of June, 2019 to 100.2% recorded at the end of June 2020.
Nankonde said the sector is expected to continue on its positive growth trajectory in the subsequent review periods. “Growth is expected to mainly be driven by increased demand for data services among consumers. The authority forecasts that the mobile subscriber base would close at over 18.2 million subscriptions by the end of 2020.”
Zamtel corporate communications manager Changwe Kabwe said the growing appetite for broadband services among corporate and retail clients will continue to spur growth in data consumption in the short-to-medium term.
“What the report shows is that the positive trajectory is going to continue. We will continue to see increased investment across the sector which brings about a more stable network. For us at Zamtel, we have made significant strides in upgrading out network,” said Kabwe.
Richard Kadoro, a telecoms researcher at Computer Association of Zambia cautioned that while investment sentiment seemed positive, there were still issues with service delivery in the industry.
He said: “While we appreciate the investments industry players are making in the sector, services have largely remained poor and this can be seen by the fines ZICTA recently imposed on all the three operators.”