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Mobile Phone Sales Near 500 Million in 2003
Nov 4, 2003
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Some 492 million mobile phones will be sold this year globally, due to strong demand for color screen models with built-in cameras and rapidly rising subscriber numbers in developing countries, according to a recent research.

U.S. research group Strategy Analytics published its new forecast, up from its earlier expectation of 455 million phones, after statistics showed third-quarter sales of 132 million phones, versus 109 million in the same period last year.

Populous countries like China, India, and Russia with billions of consumers are aggressively building mobile networks and adding subscribers.

The new forecast is more than 30 million units higher than recently raised forecasts by the major handset makers, which now forecast an average total of 460 million units this year.

A sales figure of 492 million units implies 15-percent growth over 2002 when 429 million handsets were sold and would be the first significant growth in the market since 2000.

Investment bank Merrill Lynch also recently raised its market outlook and sees sales of 496 million units.

Finland's Nokia remained the number one mobile handset vendor, but its market share dropped to 34.5 percent from 37 percent in the second quarter.

Nokia itself claimed two weeks ago it had close to a 39-percent market share in the third quarter.

Nokia's closest rival Motorola increased its market share to 15.3 percent from 14.2 a quarter ago.

South Korea's Samsung Electronics strengthened its number three position, as its market share rose to 11.4 percent from 10.8 percent in the second quarter.

Germany's Siemens AG also increased its share, up at 8.7 percent from 7.3 percent, while South Korea's LG Electronics overtook Sony Ericsson as the fifth biggest cell phone producer. LG now has 5.8 percent of the global market, up from 4.8 percent, and Sony Ericsson has 5.4 percent, down from 6 percent. (Reuters)

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