Nokia expects 10% growth in handset sales

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Nokia, the world?s largest mobile phone maker, predicted that global mobile handset sales would climb by more than 10 per cent next year from the 780m units expected in 2005.

?We expect the market to grow by 10 per cent plus next year,? Jorma Ollila, Nokia?s outgoing chief executive, told investors at the Finnish company?s annual capital markets day in New York on Thursday. Mr Ollila, 55, will step down next

The updated Nokia estimates tie in with figures from several market research firms, including Gartner, which predicted last month that mobile phone sales would grow by between 10 per cent and 15 per cent next year, further dispelling investors? concerns that growth might slow as markets such as western Europe reach saturation point.

The Finnish group, which has bounced back after misreading the market in 2004, added that it expected to further increase its market share buoyed by strong performance in emerging markets and in sales of advanced 3G handsets in Europe and elsewhere.

Nokia also brought forward its estimate of when the global phone market would pass the 3bn mark by two years to 2008, mainly because of strong growth in markets such as China and India.

Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, who will take over from Mr Ollila, predicted that the biggest handset makers would continue to outpace their smaller rivals in part because of the complexity of the industry and the need for sophisticated distribution networks and low-cost manufacturing operations.

Other senior Nokia executives noted that this also meant Nokia had to strengthen its position in the US market.

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