Growth comes from 4G LTE uplift and recovery in China
Mobile operator service revenue returned to growth in the third quarter of 2015 after four quarters of falls, albeit up only 0.1% globally.
According to the Strategy Analytics’ Wireless Operator Strategies report, 4G and China Drive Global Mobile Revenue Back to Growth, China provided the overall boost to global numbers, but other regions such as Europe also saw improving trends with uplift from greater 4G LTE adoption.
Phil Kendall, executive director, wireless operator strategies, said: “4G remains an important catalyst for revenue growth and recovery in the mobile market. Delivering a better network experience on increasingly larger display devices, operators are seeing good data traffic and revenue growth trends enabled by 4G.”
Global mobile data traffic increased 71% year on year in the third quarter of 2015, with non-SMS data accounting for 43% of service revenue.
The Middle East and Africa recorded the highest growth in the quarter at 2.7%, boosted in particular by strong data and voice performance in South Africa.
The report also found that Central and Latin America recorded the biggest revenue declines in the third quarter, down 6.9% year on year. Venezuela’s rapidly deteriorating exchange rate contributed to most of this decline, with the rest of the region down just 0.2%;
Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, director, wireless operator strategies, commented: “It is concerning for operators in developing 4G markets that leading markets such as Japan and South Korea are starting to see service revenue fall, reflecting the challenges of pushing 4G ARPU uplift right through into the mass market. Greater stability in the US supports our view that shared data plans are an important tool for value creation in this next phase of the 4G market’s evolution.”