Close to 40 percent of all worldwide mobile operators saw their revenues fall in the first quarter of 2009, compared to just 16 percent in the same period of 2008, according to a new report released by market research firm Strategy Analytics. In addition, mobile service revenues increased just 3 percent in Q1 2009, compared to 8 percent a year earlier. Strategy Analytics notes that shrinking revenue growth is not a problem limited to mature, saturated markets--25 percent of operators in emerging markets also suffered declining revenue growth in Q1. In the U.S., service revenues grew 3 percent in the first quarter to $163 billion, but service revenues fell 1.3 percent in Western Europe, following a 0.5 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Mobile data revenues increased 17 percent in the first quarter and now represent 25.3 percent of total operator revenues, up 21.9 percent year-over-year and a 24 percent increase over Q4 2008. Data ARPU grew 3.6 percent on a global basis and increased 23 percent in North America but fell 7 percent in the Asia-Pacific region. Based on the limited number of operators reporting detail, Strategy Analytics reports that messaging services declined to 53 percent of data ARPUs in Q1, down from 57 percent in 2008--based on the limited number of operators reporting detail, Strategy Analytics notes that messaging revenues declined to 53 percent of data ARPUs, down from 57 percent in 2008. Non-messaging data ARPUs increased by 11 percent annually.