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Handset sales up 18 percent, says Gartner

Expect to see 960 million cellphones sold in 2006, says the market research company.

Worldwide sales of mobile phones totalled 229 million in the second quarter of 2006, according to market researchers at Gartner.

Although that represents rapid year-on-year growth of over 18 per cent in terms of unit sales, it does mean that the rate of increase in handset shipments has slowed down a little since the first quarter of 2006, when the figure was almost 24 per cent.

Gartner is keeping faith with its prediction that 960 million units will sell in 2006 as a whole. If it proves to be an accurate forecast, that would mean an 18 per cent annual rise in unit sales from last year's figure of 816.6 million.

Nokia and Motorola, the two market-leading handset brands, are continuing to strengthen their grip on the sector, and now account for more than half of global sales.

"Motorola is the big winner this quarter," said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi. The US company's market share has risen by more than 4 per cent year-on-year to reach 21.9 per cent.

Nokia, whose phones primarily feature RF components made by RF Micro Devices, remains in top-spot with over 33 percent of the market, while Samsung remains in third place with 11.1 per cent of the market.

Despite the widespread success of its Chocolate phone, whose RF amplifier stage is powered by chips from Anadigics, Korean vendor LG saw its market share dip 0.4 per cent and slipped behind Sony Ericsson. The latter has capitalized on its Walkman-branded music phones to move ahead of LG.

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