Handset vendors show signs of growth

Leading handset vendor Nokia had a bumper quarter at the end of 2009, with profits climbing to €882m in the fourth quarter from €551 in the same period in 2008.

Revenues for the three month period were down however, falling to €11.9bn from €12.6bn in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Infrastructure JV Nokia Siemens Networks saw fourth quarter revenues drop 16.4 per cent year on year to €3.6bn, while sales at Navigation and mapping unit Navteq jumped 9.8 per cent year on year to €225m. Mapping is small fry by comparison but its performance reinforces Nokia’s decision to make Ovi Maps the heart of its mobile services portfolio.

Revenues at the devices unit were almost flat year on year at €8.2bn for the fourth quarter, with the company shipping 126.9 million units, an increase of 12 per cent year on year and 17 cent sequentially. Overall industry mobile device volumes for the same period were 329 million units based on Nokia’s estimate, representing an increase of 8 per cent year on year.

Nokia said shipments of smartphones and other high end device were 20.8 million units in the fourth quarter, compared with 15.1 million units in the fourth quarter 2008, giving the Finnish firm an estimated 40 per cent market share in the fourth quarter 2009, up from an estimated 35 per cent in the third quarter of 2009. Nokia shipped approximately 4.6 million Nseries and approximately 6.1 million Eseries devices during the quarter.

Mobile device average selling price (ASP) in the fourth quarter 2009 was €63, down from €71 in the fourth quarter of 2008 and up from €62 in the third quarter of 2009.

Tagging along behind in second place, Korean vendor Samsung said it shipped 68.8 million devices in the fourth quarter, up 14 per cent sequentially and 31 per cent year on year. Samsung got considerably more money for its devices though, with an ASP of $115 (€82) for the fourth quarter.

Sales for Samsung’s telecoms division were up to KRW11.57tn (€7bn) in the fourth quarter from KRW10.7tn in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile Motorola, which once held the second spot and now sits in fourth, behind LG, also posted an awesome quarter. Net earnings hit $142m, up from a loss of $3.6bn in the same period in 2008. But revenues for the same period dipped from $7bn to $5.7bn in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Motorola’s Mobile Devices segment sales were $1.8bn, down 22 per cent year on year, while operating loss climbed to $132m from $595m in the year ago quarter. During the quarter, the Company shipped 12 million handsets and estimates its share of the global handset market was 3.7 per cent.

During the company’s financial conference Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha said that the company would launch 20 new smartphones in 2010, including one direct to consumer device designed for and branded by Google – the follow up to HTC’s Nexus One.

Segment sales for the Home & Networks Mobility division were $2bn, down 24 per cent compared with the year ago quarter. Operating earnings were $91m, compared to $257m in the year ago quarter.

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