Middle East mobile sales exceed forecasts

Mobile phone sales around the world have increased for the second consecutive quarter, while handset sales in the Middle East have exceeded all expectations.

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By  Patrick Phelvin Published  September 8, 2003

Mobile phone sales around the world have increased for the second consecutive quarter, while handset sales in the Middle East have exceeded all expectations.

Mobile phone sales totalled nearly 115 million units for the second quarter 2003, which, according to Gartner, represents an increase in sales of 12%.

“Sales in Japan, Latin America, the developing markets of Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and Africa far exceeded expectations during the quarter,” says Bryan Prohm, Gartner’s principal analyst with the mobile communications research group.

“Strong sell-through momentum was again evident across all geographical regions, despite the unquestionably negative impact of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in the Asia/Pacific region during April and May,” he adds.

Nokia continued to dominate the market and increased its worldwide market share to 35.9% in the second quarter. Nokia achieved several notable milestones in the quarter, such as success in the code division multiple access (CDMA) market and strong market share growth in the Asia/Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa regions.

Sony Ericsson also showed strong growth in the second quarter, with robust sales in Japan and a positive reception of its T610 mobile terminal in Western Europe. Motorola, the market leader in China, was hurt by SARS and saw its market share drop to 14.6%.

According to Ben Wood, principal analyst with the mobile communications group for Gartner in Europe, the Western European market remains driven as much by fashion as technology.

As such, manufacturers are engaged in an all out marketing battle to win new European customers.

“Network operators and terminals manufacturers are continuing with their relentless marketing campaigns as the competition to secure and maintain customers intensifies,” adds Mr Wood. “Manufacturers are relying on customers to upgrade to more expensive, feature rich, colour phones with cameras and games to drive increased revenue.”

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