Nokia, the world's biggest mobile phone maker, saw its market share in western Europe slump nearly a fifth in the third quarter following intense competition from its rivals Siemens, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. The company's market share fell from 51.2 per cent in the third quarter last year to 42.1 per cent this year. The fall is the first time the company has lost market share in western Europe for two years. Analysts said the UK was a particular weak spot for Nokia.
The biggest gainer from Nokia's fall was Siemens, whose market share rocketed from 9.5 per cent to 17 per cent. Two weeks ago, The Independent revealed the threat to Nokia's dominance in the handset market posed by increasingly aggressive Far Eastern competitors. Lee Kunhee, the chairman of Samsung, recently said it was his aim to overtake Nokia as the world number one by 2010.
The new figures, from Strategy Analytics, show handset sales from manufacturers to network operators, such as Vodafone and T-Mobile, soared 23 per cent in the third quarter to 32 million units. The strength of the market prompted analysts to upgrade their full-year forecasts for mobile phone sales to 125 million from 109 million.
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