Orange CEO Stephane Richard (pictured) pointed to a rapid increase in earnings from its Middle East and Africa (MEA) operation during Q1, though the company’s Spanish unit continued to book declines.

The operator group reported a 7.1 per cent year-on-year revenue increase across its MEA unit to €1.5 billion. The growth was attributed to a higher number of mobile users, a 22 per cent boost in data revenue and a 19 per cent rise in takings from its mobile money operations.

Orange noted the MEA performance was its best Q1 in ten years: Richard described it as “remarkable”.

However, the executive was less positive on Orange’s Spanish division which recorded a 7.4 per cent decline in revenue to €1.2 billion, attributed to continuing fierce competition in the market. Richard noted recovery in the country was a priority.

The CEO added across the company, Orange had demonstrated its resilience in Q1 despite the significant impact of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Orange booked broadly flat revenue at €10.3 billion, pointing to a recovery in equipment sales, and higher earnings from fixed broadband and enterprise services.

However, roaming revenue was down 31 per cent, attributed to the fact Covid-19 restrictions had not impacted the whole of Q1 2020.