Telecel reclaims “second biggest MNO” tag with strong subscriber numbers

Nigel Gambanga Avatar

Telecel Zimbabwe Headquarters Harare

Yesterday mobile network operator Telecel Zimbabwe gave oral evidence to a Parliamentary committee on Communication, Technology, Postal and Courier Services. According to a report in the Herald the operator released figures regarding its subscribers and its Telecash mobile money service.

Telecel has 3.3 million active subscribers and is targeting to boost its switching capacity to 5.5 million, a figure which is hinging on the operator’s ability to source $200 million. The number of active subscribers pales in comparison to Econet’s 8.7 million subscriber total but eclipses NetOne’s 2.8 million active subscriber total.

These numbers show a huge (and almost unbelievable) rebound considering that Telecel had recorded a loss of subscribers in the first quarter of the year. However there have been a number of products that the operator launched between then and now which might explain this increase.

Besides growing its subscriber base Telecel seems intent on maintaining active subscribers, something reflected in the introduction of services like WhatsApp bundles and Facebook Zero.

The mobile money platform Telecash has experienced significant growth with more than 3,600 agents have been signed on and 600,000 subscribers registered for the service, a number that Telecel says it is on course to double by the end of the year. Not bad when you consider that these guys came late to the mobile money party.

In a little over five months the service has three times the number of subscribers as NetOne(initially launched in 2011). And to think that they managed to do this without the integration of payment services for ZESA prepaid electricity.

With voice services revenue maturing the rage in telecoms profits is in mobile money. Just look at how market leader Econet benefited significantly from EcoCash revenue in its last financial year. Telecel is undoubtedly borrowing from the Econet playbook (again) with its growth largely aimed at enabling Telecash services for the targeted 5.5 million subscribers.


  1. Khal Drogo

    Point of correction Nigel it was Telecel which started with the mobile money (Skwama) but killed it and Econet copy it after they realize it was viable. The rest of the story take it from Lumbikani at

  2. Evans

    There are also some new subscribers who are after the cheaper Telecash!