Gartner: Mobile phone sales up 46 percent last year

Worldwide sales of mobile phones were up 45.5 per cent in 2000 to 412.7 million units, said research and consulting company Gartner Group Inc. But by year’s end a long-rumored market slowdown had kicked in, putting total shipments for 2000 at about six million fewer than previous estimates, the company said in a statement Thursday.

Leading the pack of mobile phone vendors was Nokia Corp., with a market share of 30.6 percent. The next contender, Motorola Inc., had less than half the sales, at 14.6 per cent. Coming in third was L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co. with 10 percent, followed by Siemens AG with 6.5 per cent; Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., with its Panasonic brand, at 5.2 per cent; and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., at 5 per cent. Other vendors combined took the remaining 28 per cent of market share.

Gartner called 2000 a “transitional year” for the mobile phone industry, with several factors pointing to harder times ahead. Global capacity has caught up with demand, leading to a “significant stock carry-over” into the new year. In addition, the lowering of market entry barriers has allowed smaller manufacturers to make inroads in key Asian markets, such as China.

Further, the much-hoped-for boost in handset sales due to the introduction of models equipped for WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) did not come to fruition, Gartner said, as customers were largely unimpressed with the service.

Gartner Group, in Stamford, Conn., can be reached at