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Some 9 million 3G handsets were shipped globally during the second quarter of 2005 with Nokia claiming the top position on the vendor table for the first time.

That's according to figures released by research firm Strategy Analytics, which reveal that the Finnish mobile phone giant captured 17 per cent of the 3G handset market during the three months from April to June. Nokia's 17 percent share of the 3G market is almost half of its global overall share in the global mobile market, which stands at 33 per cent, according to Chris Ambrosio, director of the Strategy Analytics wireless device strategies service.

"WCDMA (3G) technology, which accounted for just 5 per cent of total handset sales during Q2 2005, remains a market in the early stages of development, but it is worrying for a cluster of aspiring Asian vendors that Nokia has already become best in class," said Ambrosio.

Previous 3G market leaders Motorola and LG have been overtaken by Nokia. These vendors "have significant work to do to match up in the next battle for WCDMA phones priced below USD200 wholesale, which will present significant mass-market opportunities in 2006 to 2010," Ambrosio said.

The popularity of Nokia's 3G handset the 6680 is helping it to make an impact on the global 3G market, according to Strategy Analytics, which named the handset as the "best-in-class 3G phone in Western Europe."

"Step by step, Nokia is regaining ground in high-end device segments that it has lost to Motorola, Samsung, LG and others over the last couple of years," said Neil Mawston, associate director, wireless device strategies.

While Motorola continues to make inroads in the GPRS market thanks mainly to the popularity of handsets such as the iconic V3 Razr, it is trailing behind in the 3G market. Strategy Analytics believes the US mobile phone manufacturer needs to make some improvements to its 3G handset design if it is to challenge Nokia in the segment.

Copyright © 2005, ENN

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