Despite the trends described above, not every market has high smartphone penetration, and penetration figures do not always tell the whole story. Zimbabwean regulator POTRAZ estimates that only 60 percent of the country’s population are connected via mobile device or have multiple active mobile SIM cards, despite a stated mobile penetration rate of 106 percent. The actual number of people who have SIM cards is 8.4 million. The regulator said that key decisions, such as the imposition of a 25 percent duty on mobile devices, may have been made on the basis of misplaced assumptions.
Certainly Zimbabwe is a cautionary tale with regard to the interpretation of mobile penetration figures. On the plus side, however, the country still has a good deal of room for growth in smartphone adoption and mobile service subscription.