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Motorola continues to make in-roads into Nokia's share of the mobile phone market, increasing its share to 22 per cent during the second quarter.

Around 229m mobile phones were sold worldwide during the second quarter of 2006, an increase of 18 per cent on the same period last year, according to research firm Gartner, which said the total number of handsets sold during the quarter increased by nearly 40m on the same period last year.

Though Nokia maintained its top position in the market, increasing its share from 31.6 per cent in 2005 to 33.6 per cent, the Finnish giant is feeling the heat from its US rival Motorola whose Razr and Slvr phones are proving a worldwide hit.

During the quarter Motorola gained over four per cent of the market to claim a 21.9 per cent share, compared to 17.7 per cent in 2005. The US mobile manufacturer sold 50.2m handsets globally during the quarter, compared to the 77.1m that Nokia shipped.

Third-placed Samsung lost ground during the quarter, dropping by 1.8 per cent to an 11.1 per cent share with sales of 25.5m units. Meanwhile, Sony Ericsson's sales of 15.3m handsets helped it to boost its market share to 6.7 per cent, overtaking LG which dropped to 6.3 per cent of the market with sales of 14.4m.

Most regions recorded increased sales on the same period last year, though North America bucked the trend with sales dropping 3.5 per cent to 38.6m during the quarter.

"The second quarter of 2006 proved to be a difficult one in North America as network operators were unable to add new subscribers at the same rapid pace as in the first quarter of 2006," said Hugues De La Vergne, principal analyst for mobile terminals research at Gartner.

On the other hand, Latin America recorded sales of 28.2m, an increase of seven per cent year-on-year. Having been the only region to record a drop in sales last year, Japan bounced back with a nine per cent increase; around 11m handsets were sold in the region compared to 10m last year and 10.6m in 2004. The rest of the Asia Pacific region recorded sales of 67.9m, a 5.4 per cent increase.

Western Europe recorded a nine percent increase with sales in the region rising by 4.7m to 41.1m. The biggest increase was in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa; in all, 42.5m handsets were sold across these regions, a 20 per cent increase on 2005.

Growth in global sales has slowed since the first quarter when a 23.8 per cent increase was recorded. Gartner, which said it expected the slowdown, is maintaining its forecast that 960m handsets will be sold in 2006. The research firm also said it expect sales of 238m in the third quarter.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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