Sony Ericsson has pushed LG Electronics out of the number four position in the global mobile handset market in the third quarter, helped by strong demand for its Walkman phone.

The same data showed that the top two makers, Nokia and Motorola, continued to extend the gap with the rest of the pack.

The Finnish manufacturer’s share of the market in the three months to the end of September rose to 32.6 per cent, up from 31.9 per cent in the second quarter. Motorola meanwhile grew its position from 17.9 per cent to 18.7 per cent, according to data compiled by Gartner.

The success of the big two underscored how far behind Samsung, the third placed manufacturer, had fallen. Its market share dropped for the third consecutive quarter to 12.5 per cent. In the third quarter last year, Samsung displaced Motorola as the world’s second biggest handset maker but its fortunes have since gone into decline.

Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner, said the South Korean handset maker’s woes were due to its failure to expand its product range, particularly towards emerging markets.

“Motorola has rebuilt its market position by playing in all the regions, across all the technologies and at all the pricing points,” she said.

But the success of the Sony Ericsson in the most recent quarter exposed a continued flaw at the Swedish-Japanese joint venture. Ms Milanesi said Sony
Ericsson had failed again to match production with demand, leading to a shortfall in its two most successful phones – the Walkman 800 and K750.

The joint venture has been basking in the success of its W800 phone but it has a history of being too conservative in its market outlook and Ms Milanesi warned that it was about time senior executives attempted to meet the demand for popular devices. “It is a good problem to have but it can turn round and bite you and you will run into problems with your customers.”

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