Research company Omdia stated global mobile revenue grew 5.5 per cent year-on-year to a record high $210 billion in the first quarter, but warned the rate of growth would slow in the current quarter and beyond.

Omdia noted the pace of growth in Q1 had not been seen since 2010 when 4G was launched and mobile penetration was half of what it is today.

The company collected information from 731 operators across 226 countries.

Overall, 17 out of the top 20 mobile operators posted increased revenue, but the results varied across regions (see chart, below, click to enlarge).

Mobile services revenues – Omdia

Central and Southern Asia recorded the highest annual growth at 14.5 per cent.

Operators in Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe all posted growth of between 9 per cent and 10 per cent; Latin America was up 7.8 per cent; and North America 6.5 per cent.

The lowest rates were recorded in Western Europe (2 per cent) and the rest of Asia (2.7 per cent).

Indian operators Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio led the growth by company, on 25.1 per cent and 17 per cent respectively. Japanese operator SoftBank Corp’s revenue declined 2.6 per cent and rival NTT Docomo by 5.7 per cent.

In the US, Verizon recorded 9.5 per cent growth, T-Mobile US 6.6 per cent and AT&T 4.8 per cent.

Omdia’s analysts noted their revenue figures could differ from operators’ own financial reporting because of differences in definitions.

The company cited Covid-19 (coronavirus) recovery, 5G and IoT as the three main core growth drivers, but senior research director for service provider markets Ronan de Renesse stated inflation and the prospect of a global recession would “affect consumer propensity to spend on mobile services in the future”.