Global revenue generated by mobile operators grew by 5.2 percent year-on-year to $1.16 trillion in 2012, driven by growth in developing economies that now account for four out of every five mobile connections worldwide, according to research firm Wireless Intelligence.
At current growth rates, the analyst firm projects that the developing region will overtake the developed region in terms of total mobile revenue in five years.
Operators in the developing world generated around half a trillion dollars in revenue last year ($488 billion), contributing 42 percent of global revenue — compared to 35 percent four years ago.
Just over half (51 percent) of revenue in the region was generated via operators in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries, which surpassed North America in terms of total revenue size in 2011.
Asian markets have been the main driver behind global growth, while competitive and regulatory pressures have continued to accelerate revenue and ARPU (average revenue per user) declines in Europe — further exacerbated by difficult macro-economic conditions.
Positive ARPU trends have been observed in the US driven by increases in smartphone penetration and mobile data consumption, the analyst firm said.