India Passes Britain in Nokia Phone Sales

The subcontinent has become the handset maker's No. 3 market behind China and the U.S., and it's forecasted to take over second place by 2010

India has overtaken the UK in terms of mobile sales for the world's biggest handset manufacturer, Nokia.

Nokia, who sells one in three of the world's mobile phones, has revealed the growing importance of sales in India in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The phone maker's filing revealed that in 2005, India was Nokia's fourth largest market behind China, the US and the UK respectively. At the end of 2006, India had leapfrogged the UK to become the third biggest market for Nokia, with China then the US still the biggest players.

As well as a general uptake in India's mobile purchasing, Nokia has grown its networks business' market share from single digits in 2005 to its current level of around 30 per cent. By 2010, Nokia believes India will again up its consumption to become the number two market and claims to be the biggest device seller in the country.

India's mobile market is also maturing. According to Nokia, sales of replacement devices are increasing in emerging markets, which accounted for 65 per cent of sales in 2006, compared to 60 per cent in 2005. The filing added the company is seeing "anecdotal evidence that some consumers in emerging markets are upgrading into higher priced devices when they upgrade their devices".

Nokia said it expects growth of around 10 per cent in phone sales during 2007, with 15 per cent in the Asia-Pacific region.

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