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More than 1bn phones shipped in 2006 - report

Sony Ericsson slugs it out with Samsung

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Over one billion mobile phones shipped during 2006, more than any year previously. Q4 2006 was a record-breaking period too, with 300m handsets shipping out of vendors' warehouses, up 22 per cent on the year-ago quarter.

The numbers come from market watcher Strategy Analytics (SA), which named Nokia - again - as the world's leading handset maker. The Finnish giant shipped more than 100m phones in Q4 2006, another record total.

But the real success story was Sony Ericsson, which saw its market share rise from 5.9 per cent in Q1 2006 to 8.7 per cent in the fourth quarter on the back of Q4 shipments totalling 26m units - only 6m behind Samsung. In terms of revenues, Sony Ericsson moved ahead of Samsung, $4.9bn to $4.6bn.

Fourth-placed Sony Ericsson's overall 2006 market share was 7.3 per cent. Samsung took 11.6 per cent, Motorola 21.3 per cent and Nokia 34.1 per cent. Nokia and Motorola saw no great shifts in market share quarter by quarter, but as Sony Ericsson's share rose, Samsung's fell, from 12.8 per cent to 10.7 per cent, as did LG's. Despite the apparent popularity of the Chocolate range, LG's share slid from 6.9 per cent in Q1 2006 to 5.7 per cent in Q4, yielding an overall 2006 market share of 6.3 per cent.

Last year's shipments were up 24.7 per cent on 2005's 817.2m unit total, itself up 20.1 per cent on 2004. This year is set to show less impressive growth, SA reckons, with shipments up just 12 per cent to 1.1bn handsets.

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