By STUART LISULO
Active mobile subscribers have reduced to 19.8 million by the end of last year, down from 20.2 million in 2021
The main reason is a SIM registration exercise conducted by the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA).
Announcing findings in the 2022 Annual Market Performance Report for the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector, ZICTA stated that the national mobile subscriber base had fallen to 19.8 million by end-2022.
“The total number of active mobile cellular subscriptions reduced from 20.2 million subscriptions reported at the end of 2021 to 19.8 million subscriptions at the end of 2022, representing an annual decline of 2 per cent.
“Correspondingly, the mobile cellular penetration rate, defined as the ratio of the total number of active mobile cellular subscribers to the total population, declined from 110 per cent reported at the end of 2021 to 101.2 percent at the end of 2022,” said the Report, released recently.
The overall decline in the number of mobile cellular subscriptions, as well as mobile cellular penetration rate, was mainly attributed to “the significant number of SIM cards that were deactivated relative to the new activations during the review period in a bid to increase compliance to the SIM registration guidelines issued by the Authority as well as efforts to curb the surge in fraudulent activities carried out on mobile cellular platforms.”
But despite a decline in the total number of active mobile subscribers, findings showed that the total number of active mobile money subscriptions in the country increased to 11.2 million subscribers in 2022 from 9.8 million in 2021, representing a growth rate of 13.98 per cent.
Further, the value of mobile money transactions increased significantly to K295.8 billion at the end of 2022 from K169.4 billion recorded at the end of 2021, reflecting an increase of 74.63 per cent.
And the Report also revealed that Internet connectivity increased last year, with subscriptions growing year-on-year.
“The total number of active Internet subscriptions in the country increased from 10.4 million subscriptions reported at the end of 2021 to 11.1 million recorded at the end of 2022, representing a growth of 6.73 per cent. Consequently, the increase in the total number of active Internet subscriptions reflected a marginal increase in the Internet penetration rate from 56.7 per 100 inhabitants reported in 2021 to 56.8 per 100 inhabitants attained in 2022.
“This increase was partly attributed to the increased investment in 3G/4G networks as well as other emerging technologies,” stated ZICTA.