2006 phone sales may hit a billion

2006 phone sales may hit a billion

Mobile phone users are on track to buy 1 billion handsets this year, said IDC as part of its report on third quarter sales.

A total of 254.9 million phones shipped during the quarter, an increase of 7.9 percent compared to the previous quarter and up 21 percent over the same quarter last year, IDC said. That means that phone makers should ship a total of 1 billion phones this year, the researchers said.

Growth at the top and bottom of the market is fuelling sales. The trend at the high end is shifting from very slim phones to handsets with digital music players, IDC said. While full-featured phones are drawing buyers in mature markets, sales of low-cost phones are growing in emerging markets.

The top two handset makers improved their market shares. Nokia, which sold 88.5 million phones during the quarter, had 34.7 percent of the market, up from 31.6 percent in the third quarter last year. Despite a 45 percent decline in profit during the quarter, compared to the year-earlier period, Motorola's share of the market grew to 21.1 percent compared to 18.4 percent in the same period in 2005.

Samsung maintained its third spot in the rankings, with 12 percent of the market and shipping 30 million phones.

Sony Ericsson managed to hold on to the number four position in shipments for the quarter after stealing the spot from LG Electronics during the second quarter. Sony had 7.8 percent of the market in the quarter and LG Electronics had 6.5 percent, down from 7.4 percent in the third quarter of 2005.

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