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970 million mobiles to ship in 2006, says Nokia

The Finnish wireless handset and network builder consolidates its market-leading position as the mobile industry grows by more than 20 percent in terms of unit sales.

Executives at Nokia, the world's leading mobile phone brand, say that the industry as a whole will ship 970 million mobile devices in 2006.

The figure would represent a 22 per cent increase in unit sales compared with Nokia's own estimate of the total 2005 market, and is in line with a recent forecast of 960 million made by the market research firm Gartner (see related story).

The vast majority of mobile handsets rely on key components, mostly amplifiers and switches, that are based on GaAs transistors. Nokia is the biggest customer that RF Micro Devices, the leading GaAs chip manufacturer, sells products to.

Nokia itself shipped 88.5 million mobiles in the quarter that ended on September 30, equivalent to a 33 per cent increase compared with the same three-month period in 2005. It estimates the industry-wide quarterly sales volume at 243 million.

The Asia-Pacific and China markets have proved to be the key growth areas for Nokia in the latest quarter, with unit sales into both geographies shooting up by more than 60 percent year-on-year.

The networking side of Nokia's business is also growing strongly, with sales up 16 per cent on last year's figure.

The Finnish company now expects industry volumes to grow 15 per cent sequentially in the traditionally-strong final quarter of the year, which will equate to 279 million handsets.

With Nokia expecting its market share to remain steady at 36 percent, it will likely ship just over 100 million of its own mobiles.

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