Global Cell Phone Growth Slowed During Q1

Global revenue growth from mobile phone subscriptions has slowed, according to data released today by research firm Telegeography. The firm notes that the top 20 global service providers generated $251 billion during the first three months of 2009, which was only up 3 percent from the same period last year. Part of the slowed growth was related to market saturation, but Telegeography said it was also tied to the lousy economy, which depressed demand.

India and China, which together accounted for 48 percent of the global growth, were bright spots on the world stage. The U.S. and Canada saw only 2 percent growth, however the U.S. did add 1 million broadband subscribers, demonstrating how wireless data can offer some growth for a carrier in saturated markets. Worldwide broadband subscriber additions during the quarter came in at 14 million.

The top 10 telecom equipment vendors (Telegeography includes handset makers in the group), generated $59 billion in sales during the quarter, down 5 percent from the same period in 2008, and a 15 percent drop from the previous quarter. Huawei, Samsung, RIM (s rimm) and LG Electronics had respectable sales during the first quarter, while Nokia (s nok), Cisco, (s csco) Motorola (s mot) and Alcatel-Lucent (s alu) struggled. Meanwhile, Nortel (s not) was cut from the Top 10 entirely.