Zimbabwe’s largest mobile money operator Ecocash, owned by the country’s richest man Strive Masiyiwa, lost 535 382 subscribers in the second quarter of this year alone but it still held 87.5% of the market share, according to the second quarter report by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ).
Telecash, the smallest operator, lost 17 875 subscribers while OneMoney gained 337 708 subscribers to increase its market share from 7.2 to 12 %.
Overall, mobile money subscribers dropped by 215 549 in the quarter from April to June.
According to POTRAZ, this was the only quarter in two years to record a decline in mobile money subscriptions.
The decline could also have been caused by the deactivation of some agent lines accused of participating in illicit financial activities in May.
The government cracked down on mobile money operators after it discovered that Ecocash had created $8.4 billion on phantom money, according to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Ecocash is reported to have moved money that was three times that transacted by the country’s 13 commercial banks in February.
Sterner measures were, however, introduced in the third quarter which ends this month with mobile money operators being ordered to reduce the number of mobile money accounts to one per person.
This is likely to hit Ecocash, which had 6.5 million subscribers at the end of the second quarter, hardest.
Telecash had 34 689 subscribers while OneMoney had 892 963 subscribers.