When it comes to mobile revenue, AT&T is now bigger than Vodafone

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The two titans of the U.S. continue to make big gains in the global carrier rankings. The big multinational mobile companies like Telefónica, América Móvil, Bharti Airtel, and Orange still have far more subscribers than either, but Verizon Wireless and AT&T more than make up for it in terms of revenue.

GSMA Intelligence’s new global carrier scoreboard found that AT&T has joined Verizon in the top 3 in mobile revenues, leapfrogging the biggest of the multinationals Vodafone. China Mobile is still the number one carrier in the world in both revenues and subscribers, and China’s other mobile operators continue to make big gains in both categories, according to GSMA Intelligence, the GSM Association’s research arm.

GSMA Intelligence 2013 Carrier Scoreboard

That AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless are growing faster than their international peers might seem surprising given the saturation of the U.S., but the two have managed to pull off an interesting trick. While nearly every multinational added millions of subscribers in the last year, their revenue growth didn’t keep up. Verizon and AT&T, by serving a single, large highly lucrative market, already have some of the highest average revenues per subscriber globally — and that average revenue is increasing, not decreasing.

Neither AT&T and Verizon cracked the top 10 in terms of total subscribers, and the way things are going they may even risk falling out of the top 20. But as long as we Americans are accustomed to paying a lot for our mobile voice and data services, AT&T and Verizon are going to remain two of the most powerful and profitable operators in the world.

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