The European mobile phone market continues to show positive growth, with a 16 per cent year-on-year increase in handset shipments, according to telecommunications market intelligence firm IDC.
IDC attributes the continued growth to the heavy promotion of 3G services as mobile operators expand their portfolio of mobile services and content, the progressive penetration of smartphones and multimedia devices, and a proliferation of lower-end handsets with competitive annual service plans.
Andrew Brown, European mobile devices program manager for IDC, commented: "Although the third quarter lacked the impetus commonly provided by extensive handset launches, the widespread availability of popular feature phones launched earlier in the year ensured substantial adoption, largely through post pay contract renewals and handset upgrades with visibility assisted by extensive promotions."
IDC points to Nokia as the major catalyst for the continued growth of the smartphone market, as the Finnish company continues to push its series 60 handsets to both 2G and 3G networks. Nokia currently holds the dominant position in the handset market, with a 36 per cent share. Smartphones, primarily coming from Nokia, accounted for seven per cent of Western Q3 handset shipments, climbing three per cent from the same period last year.
Samsung and Motorola, despite trailing behind Nokia for overall market share, showed the biggest year-on-year growth, increasing by 100 per cent and 71 per cent respectively. Sony Ericsson suffered as a result, showing a five per cent growth and leaving the firm with a 12 per cent share of the market, compared to its 13 per cent share last year.
Following the acquisition of its mobile handset division by BenQ, Siemens saw a unit shipment decline of 44 per cent, resulting in a halving of its market share from 15 to 7 per cent.