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Worldwide mobile phone sales up more than a fifth

Worldwide mobile phone sales increased 21.5% in the third quarter of 2006 to 251 million units, compared to the same quarter last year.

Analyst Gartner said third quarter sales in the Asia/Pacific region, especially in India and China, rose dramatically and drove overall growth upwards.

Asia/Pacific was the fastest growing region this quarter, with sales soaring by 55%.

As a result of the strong quarter, Gartner raised its mobile phone sales forecast to reach 986m units in 2006, with 281m units in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said, “Although sales of replacement handsets during the third quarter in the more mature markets were not as buoyant as we have been accustomed to, they were offset by continuing momentum in sales to first-time buyers in emerging markets.”

Milanesi said, “In a market where players compete on price, technology and strategic partnerships, it is impossible to believe that life is not getting much tougher for the smaller vendors. Nokia, Motorola and Samsung accounted for 68% of worldwide mobile sales in the third quarter of 2006.”

Nokia retained its worldwide number one position in the market with 35.1% of market share, gaining 2.6% compared to the same period last year.

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