Some fascinating facts about internet services stats in Zimbabwe

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar

BroadbandYesterday, we posted the the latest Zimbabwe internet subscriptions statistics that POTRAZ, the telecoms regulator in Zimbabwe, released. There are some interesting facts apparent in the subscription trends locally. Here are the ones we picked. Note that these are stats for the quarter ending June 2014.

1.   Dial-up is not dead
If you thought dial-up internet was dead, you couldn’t be more wrong. There are some 8,935 active dial-up internet subscriptions in Zimbabwe.

2.   Fibre 1 : Dial-up 5
Not only do we still have dial-up, the total dial-up subscriptions are way more than fibre subscriptions. For every fibre subscription in Zimbabwe, there are 5 active dial-up subscriptions!

3.   This is madness!
One more thing yet about dial-up. Dial-up subscriptions actually increased in the April to June period. From 8,901 the previous quarter!

4.   Let’s all thank mobile
Mobile Internet subscriptions make up 99.05 percent of all internet subscriptions in Zimbabwe. Mobile includes 3G, GPRS, EDGE, CDMA and LTE.

5.   There’s no LTE to speak about
Speaking of LTE which was introduced by Econet more than a year ago. It only had 334 active subscribers in the quarter from April – June this year. 334 users is about 0.004% of Econet’s total subscribers.  We’re guessing this is because of limited coverage and limited device capability?

6.   But when you are small, you grow fast!
Small as it is, LTE’s user base in the quarter was still a 95.30% increase from the previous quarter when we only had 171 subscriptions in the country.

7.   VSAT and WiMAX on the decline
Some technology types are actually on the decrease. In the quarter in question at least: VSAT and WiMAX both registered a decrease in subscriptions. By 15.8% and 17.6% respectively.

8.   Fibre is growing fast!
LTE aside, fibre subscriptions are the next fastest growing type of connection. Subscriptions grew by 22.8% in the quarter! There’s a deliberate push by Liquid to install as much fibre as possible currently. Other IAPs like PowerTel, Africom and Telecontract are also connecting more and more subscribers everyday.

9.   Fibre is growing faster than ADSL
Surprising yes but true. Fibre subscriptions in the quarter increased by 22.8% where TelOne’s DSL only grew by 0.1%. This despite the fact that TelOne has some 326,576 active landlines in the country! And this is not just in percentage terms; even in absolute numbers, ADSL was outpaced. It grew by 47 subscriptions while fibre grew by 320 subscriptions. We wonder what the problem is exactly!

Here’s the data table we picked this from:

Technology1st Quarter 20142nd Quarter 2014
Dial up8,9018,935
Fibre links1,4021,722
Leased Lines1,3981,637

Do you see anything fascinating we left out that we should add to this list. Please comment below!


  1. fourwallsinaroom

    A few points to note LSM. Every single ZOL Broadband Subscriber that pays 129 and above has dial up access. This is achieved by calling ZOL and asking for the two spare accounts. So for instance if you are you can ask for and at no charge. Tel*One Dial up has some serious authentication issues. but then again is it worth implementing a billing system for dial up how much can i download and “borrow” at 56K? LTE is an issue for a lot of us because if your sim is LTE enabled there is no voice over LTE so personally this is why I have not taken this up will stick with HSPDA till they let me access LTE and voice over LTE. my two cents!

    1. L.S.M Kabweza

      Thanks dude. What do these ZOL subscribers use their dial-up for exactly?
      The LTE, you don’t want it for a non-voice device like a 4G tablet?

      1. fourwallsinaroom

        Personally I have used the Dial up when I have no power at home and i urgently need to check email or something similar and its just to much effort to fire up the generator. A 4G tablet would be nice but my current setup is such that my phone is the mobile hotspot when I dont have the mifi. So I would much rather have the LTE enabled on the phone which goes everywhere I go as opposed to a tablet.

  2. The King

    Great article

  3. LTE

    Do we really have moblie LTE from Econet or it is just that expensive dongle?

  4. Market Watcher

    The VSAT numbers appear to be low and likely represent the number of sites that are licensed/registered with POTRAZ. I believe that Transmedia’s (BAZ Regulated) UHF platform still services a number of subscribers as well.

    1. fourwallsinaroom

      I definately can confirm VSAT numbers are very low. LTZ has way more VSAT subscribers than that figure. Then think, iWay, Africom, Tel*One. (I have not included Yo! and ZOL seeing as they are simply resellers of LTZ VSAT)

      1. L.S.M Kabweza

        I thought it was too low too. Makes us wonder how accurate the other numbers are as well

        1. e-Observer

          WiMAX is accurate because all the units have to be registered on the base station by MAC Address; Fibre links are all done through the IAPs, or you end up in jail for nothing, so they can more accurately be accounted for (same goes for leased lines, dial-ups and xDSL). LTE, CDMA and GSM field is a heavily regulated field espcially through the mandatory SIM Card registration, therefore the stats can be deemed to be accurate. The only problem child really is VSAT especially if the VSAT HUB is outside Zim.

          1. fourwallsinaroom

            The WiMax numbers are not accurate. I can tell you with 100% certainty that ZOL, legacy Ecoweb/Econet WiMax do not register your mac address. ZOL authenticates using a PEM certificate while legacy Econet does user and password. I have used a device from clear networks America on ZOL WiMAX with no problems and no registration with the ISP. I just used my user name and pass, set up the certificate and was good to go.

    2. e-Observer

      You are right UHF numbers are very significant to be left out… it could potentially rival WiMAX numbers… It would also be interesting to other wireless options such as Microwave and WiFi

    3. Evans

      For licensing issues ISPs will only provide numbers for fully licensed customers otherwise lots of installations are illegal! anf there are so many of that in Zim!

  5. Farai

    Dial-up rules because of cost. Also as more people get landlines some have poor exchanges that do not support ADSL.

    BTW, I have US Robotics 56k modem for sale……

    1. fourwallsinaroom

      is this a soft modem or a hardware modem. if it is the later please drop me an email

      1. L.S.M Kabweza

        You’ll use it for what? Just curious

        1. e-Observer

          While most dial-up connections have Internet enabled they are mostly used for POPing mail by many customers. They will then resort to their mobile or dongle for serious Internet. The reason why most customers stick with Dail-Up is its simplicity and no hidden costs: unlike the services from most of our local ISP friends. Most users end up with 10 different devices just trying to get a decent connection to receive that ever-so precious business email until they revert to the tried and tested. Shame on us for stalling the advancement of technology!

        2. fourwallsinaroom

          For my Linux box. Dial into the box, run a few scripts and disconnect. I do not want my box to be in my DMZ 24/7 further to that, ZOL recently stopped giving public IP’s and I only have one public ip from another provider.

      2. Niall

        I have an Apple 56K dialup modem. Works with Windows, Mac and Linux if you’re interested?

  6. Galvatron

    I gut a Green Packet DX- 250 Wimax indoor modem for sale. excluding power adapter. Good working condition. $70

    1. mdulababy

      did you eventually get a buyer for the modem

  7. Evans

    I cant believe what I am reading on dial up, most computers are now being manufactured with internal modems and surely I support a lot of companies but I have never came across anyone using dial-up link. This information must be wrong! and I work in some of the remotest part of Zim!

    1. e-Observer

      Dial-up is still there my friend. I work for an ISP we bill lots of them but like I said most of these are now being used simply to send/receive mail

  8. Evans

    How is POTRAZ getting this data? Own monitoring activities or the data they receive from the providers? Surely the providers have every reason to understate or overstate the figures if it benefits them somehow!

    1. e-Observer

      Dial-up is still there my friend. I work for an ISP we bill lots of them but like I said most of these are now being used simply to send/receive mail…

  9. Sinclair

    The problem with ADSL is that it works great – when it works… you get any kind of problem and you can spend endless amounts of time trying to find someone at TelOne who has any clue of how to fix it. The modems also seems prone to “blow” from powersurges or thunderstorms, a friend have used about 4 of them

  10. Anonymous

    i am a technician and one of my clients was being billed for Dial Up which they last used 5 years ago. They were not even aware of it. Cancelled it on the spot. That might explain some of these ‘Dial Up’ figures

    1. sinclair

      I have seen that too – ppl actually pay for this as part of their package (yes I mean you ZOL) without realising it is there

      1. fourwallsinaroom

        ZOL is not billing me for the three dial up accounts i have they have been part of my package since i had the 129 ADSL plus 33 last mile charge. Have had dialup with them for years since they were called data control and have simply migrated from one technology to the next.

  11. Anonymous

    Fibre Link numbers are shockingly low. How are these companies surviving?