Telefonica chairman and CEO Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete highlighted progress in a strategy to lower debt and boost overall earnings during Q1, noting the group fended off ongoing global economic headwinds to book revenue gains.

The executive stated Telefonica’s opening period brought advances in revenue growth across all regions where it operates, a performance which positioned the operator to meet full-year financial targets and confirm a planned €0.30 dividend per share.

In addition to advancing its debt-reduction programme, Telefonica continued to “strengthen its balance sheet thanks to its ability to anticipate”, Alvarez-Pallete stated.

Net debt fell 3.5 per cent year-on-year to €26.4 billion, more than 80 per cent of which is financed at fixed interest rates.

Revenue in Spain was flat at €3.1 billion, though this could be regarded as a positive in a market known for being exceedingly competitive.

It booked increases in Germany, Brazil and its Hispam operation, and highlighted organic growth for its UK business.

Digital transformation unit Telefonica Tech generated revenue of €429 million, up 43.5 per cent, part of broader gains in the B2B segment.

The operator also highlighted the contribution of its Telefonica Infra unit, credited to its “pioneering status” in deploying fibre infrastructure, with its Telxius subsea cable unit also making revenue gains.

Its fibre customer base grew 16 per cent with post-paid mobile users up 7 per cent. It pointed to progress in its 5G rollout, with standalone 5G networks launched in Brazil during Q1 and availability in the UK, Germany and Spain scheduled for later this year.

Net profit attributable to equity holders fell 57.9 per cent to €298 million on revenue of €10 billion, up 6.7 per cent.