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The latest figures from the mobile phone industry show that the sector is healthy again, but Motorola and Siemens are stumbling.

According to Gartner's figures for the second quarter of 2003, mobile phone shipments were up 12 percent over last year, totalling 114.9 million units in the April to June period. Gartner also said that shipments were up 2 percent sequentially, a sign that the stagnation in the sector has finally ended. It forecast that between 450 million and 460 million phones would be sold globally in 2003, up 9 per cent on 2002.

According to Gartner sales were good in all regions during the second quarter, including Asia/Pacific, where SARS hurt the industry in April and May. Particularly strong markets were Japan, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the firm said.

Nokia again dominated the sector, taking 35.9 per cent of the market with 41.2 million units shipped compared to 35.1 million a year ago. However, the number two phone maker, Motorola, slipped during the three months as its shipments diminished from 17 million last year to 16.7 million in the most recent quarter, mostly due to the troubles Motorola experienced in China. As a result, the American wireless pioneer saw its market share fall from 17 per cent a year ago to 14.6 per cent in Q2 2003.

In fourth place, Siemens also stumbled as its Q2 shipment slipped from 8.2 million last year to 8 million this year and market share fell to 7 percent from 8 per cent a year earlier.

In the number three spot was Korea's Samsung, a company that has enjoyed meteoric growth in the sector over the last two years, mostly on the back of its popularity in Asia and its emergence in the US and Europe. During the second quarter of 2003, Samsung's growth stabilised compared to a year ago as it shipped 11.3 million units and took 9.9 percent of the market, compared to 9.8 million units and 9.5 percent of the market last year.

Struggling Sony Ericsson was the fifth place vendor and it had a good quarter, the analysts said, thanks to robust sales in Japan and a positive reception of its T610 in Western Europe. The London-based, Swedish-Japanese joint venture shipped 6.3 million units and had 5.5 percent of the market, compared to 5.3 million units and 5.2 percent of the global market 12 months ago.

Commenting on various regions, Gartner predicted big troubles in China where over 35 handset makers are vying to gain a foothold or dominance. As vendors dump more phones in China and cut prices, many local phone makers will be forced to abandon the market altogether, claimed Ann Liang, analyst with the mobile communications group for Gartner in Asia/Pacific.

In Western Europe and the US, consumers are being driven by the lure of advanced phones with sophisticated features, as well as phones offering fashion appeal, Gartner added.

© ENN

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