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Wireless Services Bounce Back in Q2 2021: A Regional Comparison

by Philip Kendall | Sep 17, 2021

Our latest Wireless Operator Performance Benchmarking Q2 2021 database shows a market recovering relatively well from a turbulent pandemic-dominated 2020. Wireless service revenues increased 5.0% globally as higher-ARPU developed markets in particular bounced back from the peak of the pandemic's macro-economic shocks in Q2 2020.

Patterns of mobility have improved significantly over the last year, though have yet to return to the more ‘normal’ levels of 2019. So many operators are seeing significant growth in international roaming traffic in 2021 and general increases in mobile service spend, though the growth has been more modest when viewed over the last two years rather than one. For example, in Q2 2021:

  • Service revenue increased 5.0% over Q2 2020 though at a CAGR of 2.0% over 2Q 2019
  • Subscriptions increased 3.9% over Q2 2020 though at a CAGR of 2.1% over 2Q 2019
  • EBITDA increased 4.3% over Q2 2020 though at a CAGR of 1.9% over 2Q 2019
  • Voice minutes increased 7.3% over Q2 2020 though at a CAGR of 4.7% over 2Q 2019
  • Data traffic increased 34.1% over Q2 2020 and at a CAGR of 36.3% over 2Q 2019

The interactive chart below compares regions against key wireless operator KPIs, allowing either overlays (combined) or side-by-side (separate) comparisons of regions of interest to create views such as the ones here:

Radar overview

By global standards, the West European wireless market still remains very weak in terms of key growth measures, though is at least in positive territory. North America remains a huge source of market value, a high-ARPU, high-penetration, high-profitability region still outperforming Europe for growth.

Market growth profiles are strongest in the Middle East and Africa and in Central and Latin America, though this regions still have the largest gap to make up in terms of mobile data usage and revenue profiles. The represent higher-growth regions with still healthy upside potential if the operators can solve the riddle of increasing data use without sacrificing prices.

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