Global mobile phone shipments set to reach 1 billion in 2006

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Global mobile phone shipments set to reach 1 billion in 2006

IDC study records record-breaking sales.

The worldwide mobile phone market is on target to reach the milestone of one billion handsets being shipped during 2006, analysts have predicted.

According to IDC, a total of 254.9 million units were shipped in the third quarter of 2006, an increase of 7.9 percent from the previous quarter and up an “impressive” 21 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

"The strong growth in the third quarter was very comparable to the growth we saw in 3Q 05, as the trend of vendors and carriers working to prep for the holiday season begins," said Ryan Reith, research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker.

"New models are appearing on shelves, carrier marketing campaigns are everywhere, and the buzz around stylish phones are driving consumer awareness towards new devices."

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker noted that, with 3Q 06 earnings results in, there have been record performances from all of the top five vendors in the industry.

"Shipping nearly a billion units in a single year is a significant milestone, but just as important is the journey it takes to get there," said Ramon Llamas, research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker.

"Much focus has been given to emerging markets, and rightly so. Emerging markets have presented tremendous opportunity for vendors to provide users with their first handsets, and some users may already be looking to upgrade to another phone. Similarly, replacement handsets are a popular option for those in mature markets, especially as new features such as music have gained momentum."

"Handsets that provide music functionality are now very visible in the industry. Mature markets are at a point where it is worthwhile for the carriers to launch these devices with strong marketing campaigns behind them, knowing that consumers are willing and ready to use their device as a music player as well as a phone," added Reith.

Nokia, which IDC’s report describes as “the Finnish powerhouse”, once again exceeded expectations and set a new industry record by shipping 88.5 million units in the third quarter, surpassing its previous record by 4.8 million units.

Motorola, according to the study, also enjoyed a record-breaking quarter with its sixth straight quarter of growth near 40 percent or better. Samsung, having spent the first half of the year approaching thirty million units shipped in a quarter, has reached that milestone in 3Q 06 and maintained a 10 million units lead over the number four vendor, Sony Ericsson.
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