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Samsung phones outsell Motorola's

But Nokia still ruled in Q3, says researcher

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Samsung is now the world's second-largest mobile phone maker, behind Nokia. According to market watcher Gartner, the South Korean company has finally knocked Motorola into third place.

The researcher's figures cover Q3, so there's a chance Motorola may pull ahead again during the current quarter. During the third quarter, some 167m handsets shipped worldwide, Gartner said, up 26 per cent on Q3 2003. Those numbers closely follow similar figures issued by fellow researcher Strategy Analytics (SA) in October.

Indeed, another researcher, In-Stat/MDR, reported broadly similar numbers earlier this month. However, its figures did not put Samsung ahead of Motorola. Neither did SA's statistics.

In-Stat put Motorola's and Samsung's market shares at 14.1 per cent and 13.8 per cent, respectively. SA's had the two on 13.9 per cent and 13.5 per cent, so it's clearly a close-run thing whichever way you look at it. Gartner put their shares at 13.4 per cent (Motorola) and 13.8 per cent (Samsung).

Gartner's Nokia Q3 share is 30.9 per cent, so joined its rivals in noting the Finnish phone maker's move above 30 per cent market share, still well above its nearest competitors' shares. All three market watchers revealed that such was the big and untraditional jump in Q3 sales over Q2's total, that all three companies still did rather well out of the quarter.

Gartner noted that Western European sales were driven by falling prices and vendors' new launches. Ditto North America, and in Asia-Pacific, the market was likewise fuelled by aggressive operator promotions and heavy handset subsidies. Only in Japan did sales fall, Gartner said, dropping 12.8 per cent year on year, possibly because the shift from 2G to 3G is allowing less room for manoeuvre on price because margins in 3G handsets are lower. ®

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