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Mobile phone sales boomed in the second quarter of the year after robust growth in almost all regions of the world except Japan.

Second quarter sales rose 21.6 per cent to 190m units, making it the second strongest quarter on record after peak sales of 195m in the fourth quarter of last year, according to Gartner, the technology research firm.

In the mature markets of Western Europe and North America, sales were driven by people replacing older models, while in emerging markets growth was boosted by new customers taking advantage of falling prices.

European sales rose 10 per cent to 37.4m despite a slow uptake of 3G video and internet-related services.

“Users’ lack of interest in 3G services, such as video calling, meant they preferred 2.5G GSM phones to 3G handsets,” said Carolina Milanesi, Gartner’s analyst for mobile terminal research.

North America experienced its strongest second quarter on record as sales rose 9.4 per cent to 35.5m. Combined sales in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa rose 37 per cent to 33.6m and in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) increased 28 per cent to 48.3m.

Japan was the only main region in the world that experienced a decline, as sales fell from 10.6m to 10m.

“The strength of the world’s mobile phone market in the second quarter of 2005 reinforces Gartner’s view that it will reach 780m units by the end of the year,” said Ms. Milanesi.

Among mobile phone manufacturers, the top two market leaders, Nokia of Finland and Motorola of the US, further strengthened their market share, together accounting for half of all global sales. Nokia’s global share rose from 29.6 per cent to 31.9 per cent, while Motorola extended its position from 15.7 per cent to 17.9 per cent.

Samsung and LG’s shares also increased, while Sony Ericsson’s and Siemens’ fell.

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