Samsung overtakes Motorola in US mobile phone market

Samsung Electronics passed Motorola in the third quarter to became the leading mobile phone handset vendor in the US, research firm Strategy Analytics said on Friday.

The research firm said handset shipments in the US - the largest mobile phone market in the world - defied the economic gloom and grew 6.2 per cent from a year before to 47.4 million phones in the quarter.

"Attractive bundling schemes from operators, healthy subsidies and aggressive pre-stocking by distributors ahead of the holiday season helped to lift volumes," said Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics.

South Korean vendors Samsung and LG Electronics both won more of the market, controlling 22.4 per cent and 20.5 per cent respectively.

"Samsung's growing retail presence and an attractive high-tier handset portfolio for all of the big four operators have proved crucial in grabbing the prestigious title of the number one vendor in the world's single largest handset market," analyst Bonny Joy said in a statement.

At the same time, Motorola, which had been the top vendor in its home market since 2004, saw market share drop to 21.1 per cent from 32.7 per cent a year before.

Last week Motorola warned that its fourth-quarter results would miss expectations and said its struggling mobile phone business would weaken further in the first half of 2009.

Still, all three in total sell less phones globally than Finland's Nokia, which dominates emerging markets and has a global market share of around 38 per cent.

In the US market, Nokia saw its share fall from a year ago to 8.4 per cent - which was still up from levels seen earlier this year.

"It doesn't feel to us like a sustained recovery. Nokia is still struggling," Strategy Analytics' Mawston said. In the US market Nokia also trailed Blackberry maker Research in Motion, which had more than 10 per cent share for the second quarter in a row.

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