Cellphone sales estimated to touch 1 billion this year

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Cellphone manufacturers have posted yet another successful quarter. According to an IDC report released today, Nokia & Co. shipped 237.8 million phones in Q2, which represents a 2.1% increase over Q1 and a whopping 22.5% increase over Q2 of last year. For the first half of the year, the industry shipped 470.7 million phones, which is slightly more than manufacturers were able to ship in all four quarters of 2003 (469.8 million).

For the complete year, manufacturers are expected to near the 1 billion mark for the first time: 825.5 million cellphones were sold in 2005, which was significantly higher than the 707.3 million phones that shipped in 2004.

IDC analyst Ryan Reith is careful predicting that the industry will break the 1 billion barrier this year: "The industry has been eyeing the milestone of 1 billion handsets shipped in a single year for some time, and many believe 2006 will be the year it happens. Although the demand for handsets in emerging markets continues to soar, the market's surging growth rate has been balanced by slowing demand in select mature markets."

While the majority of handset shipments were made up of entry-level devices, the second quarter also witnessed strong growth in handsets capable of utilizing bulked-up, third generation network infrastructure, IDC said. With EV-DO and UMTS now common in the many regions throughout the world, 3G networks and services are becoming an increasingly significant part of the mobility world.

On a vendor basis, Nokia increased its market share to 33.0% and sold 78.4 million phones during the quarter. Motorola also gained market share and now stands at 21.8% with 51.9 million phones shipped. Samsung, the thridlargest manufacturers lost ground and saw its share dropping from12.5 to 11.1% (26.3 million phones). Sony Ericsson continued to improve its presence with a share that now is estimated at 6.6%, which translates into 15.7 million phones shipped.