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The Slow Extinction of Telone Landlines

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The Slow Extinction of Telone Landlines

When did you last use your landline telephone at home? For a growing number of Zimbabweans, that’s a moot question: they just don’t have one. The bulk of kids under 18 have never used a landline, while older generations are starting to cut the cord too .Most Zimbabwe homes no longer use landline phone service and instead rely on cellphones to stay connected.

Cellphones have killed off a whole plethora of electronic gadgets from the Walkman to the portable gaming player. Add landline phones to the growing list of endangered species.

Data released by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) on shows that landlines have declined by 15.7% from 305,720 active subscriptions recorded as at 31 December 2016 to 257,626 recorded as at 31 March 2017.Mar-2017-Zimbabwe-telecoms-report-POTRAZ

Even though landlines aren’t off the radar yet, some people are already starting to feel the effect of their decline. As you might expect, Telone has been affected by abandoned landlines, but some other unexpected groups, like researchers and politicians, are feeling the effects as well.

According to the postal and telecommunications sector performance report it shows that 200,948 of the total population of Zimbabwe (13,727,493) about 1.4 percent have fixed landline at home. The trend to abandon the landline seems inevitable.

Zimbabwe trends have advanced and figures from research done by Techunzipped show 99 percent of Zimbabwe homes rely solely on mobile phones. The reasons why might be fairly obvious but the fallout is less so.

The past 20 years, we have seen a revolution in personal telecommunications. The clunky brick-like mobile phones used by Chimbetu in the 1990s have given way to the magic little boxes in our pockets with previously unbelievable computing power.

The descending trend is set to continue for landlines, as the number of smartphone only households continues to increase. Some observers have predicted that the majority of homes in Zimbabwe could be without a landline as early as 2020! Offices will take longer to follow due to a lack of substitute product, affording the landline a little bit more time on its road towards extinction.

We should feel sorry for the telephone company. With the recent disclosure of TelOne’s $25 Million loss. So perhaps the company is right to be concerned about the drop-off in landlines, but the landscape is undoubtedly changing.


Pardon has been a technology enthusiast his entire life and has spent the better part of last decades in information technology and security, and he writes with an aim to remove some of the "mysticism" from the cyber world. He’s the Editor at Techunzipped. Away from the keyboard, you're likely to find him playing with the latest gadgets or the latest Game.

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