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IDC: Phone shipments surged in '04

Nokia keeps the top spot, but at the lower levels, competition is fierce between LG and Siemens.

Worldwide mobile-phone shipments totaled 194.3 million in the fourth quarter, a jump of 18.1 percent compared with the third quarter, market researcher IDC said this week.

Compared with the 2003's fourth quarter, the jump represented growth of 24 percent. For the full year, shipments increased by 29.3 percent compared with 2003, IDC said.

Nokia retained its position as the top vendor, grabbing 34 percent market share in the fourth quarter and 31.2 percent in the full year.

Motorola reported record shipments, claiming 16.4 percent of the market in the final quarter. Samsung, with 10.9 percent share, was in third place, but its share fell almost 3 percent from the previous quarter.

With market share of 7.2 percent, LG Electronics overtook Siemens for the fourth slot--by a margin of just 0.3 percent.

IDC said companies that offered a balanced portfolio of innovative features, technology and style fueled growth during the fourth quarter. Nokia unveiled nine new phone models, half of which have cameras and color screens. It has slated seven new models for 2005.

Motorola introduced more than 20 new mobile offerings, including two phones that are considered "converged devices," meaning that they can perform multiple functions rather than just making calls.

While Samsung's shipments to the United States fell, most of LG's growth came from increased U.S. shipments of CDMA and GSM phones, IDC said. LG also matched Motorola in the number of 3G shipments.

"Now that there is more clarity among the top three spots, the competition will continue to heat up for the final two positions," IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said in a statement.