Mobile revenues reached a new record of $210bn in Q1 2022, 5.5% higher than last year, according to Omdia’s analysis of global service providers and mobile markets. The mobile market hasn’t seen growth at this level since 2010 when 4G was launched and mobile penetration was half of what it is today.
The increase was felt around the world, but some regions did better than others. Central and Southern Asia including India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, recorded the highest annual growth at 14.5%. It was followed by Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe all showing annual growth rates between 9-10%. North and South America also performed well with annual growth rates of 6.5% and 7.8% respectively. At the bottom was Western Europe (2%) and the rest of Asia (2.7%) which includes Australia, China, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan.
Operators around the world are starting to see the benefits with 17 out of the top 20 mobile operators experiencing growth in Q1. Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio saw double-digit revenue increases in India while operators in the US posted annual growth near or above 5% such as Verizon (9.5%), T-Mobile (6.6%), and AT&T (4.8%).
COVID recovery, 5G, and IoT were the three main core drivers of growth in Q1 2022 but there are other factors at play which may affect the market in the future.
Ronan de Renesse, Omdia’s Senior Research Director for Service Provider Markets said: “Will this success be short-lived? Probably yes. Looking forward into Q2 2022 and beyond, we anticipate revenues to continue to grow but at a slower pace than what was observed in Q1.”
Tight COVID restrictions in China will negatively impact revenues in South-East Asia. In Eastern Europe, the impact of the Russian-Ukraine conflict will be more felt in Q2 and throughout the rest of the year as the hope of a resolution is still unclear.
“Macro-economic factors such as inflation and the prospect of a global recession will affect consumer propensity to spend on mobile services in the future.” adds de Renesse.