India leads mobile sales in Asia Pacific region

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New Delhi, Nov 27 (UNI) India saw the largest growth in mobile phone sales in the Asia/Pacific region, reaching 24.5 million units during the quarter, which was driven by CDMA phones and fierce competition among operators of global systems for mobile communications (GSM) networks, said market research firm Gartner, Inc.

Gartner said the competition among operators stimulated sales of replacement phones and allowed operators to penetrate rural areas quickly as India led the growth in mobile phone sales in the region, where sales rose to 101.8 million units, a 26 per cent increase from the third quarter of 2006.

However, Gartner finds that in mature markets, demand for replacement phones gravitated toward the extremes and saw sales of mid-tier models flatten out, while those at the high and low ends increased.

Sales of mobile phones in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa reached 49.6 million units in the third quarter of 2007, a 3.5 per cent increase from the same period last year.

In Japan, sales to end users in the third quarter of 2007 were 13.1 million units, an increase of 21.8 per cent from the third quarter of 2006.

''Japan performed extremely well this quarter, exhibiting one of the strongest performances worldwide,'' said Gartner.

Sales of mobile handsets to end users in Latin America reached 32.2 million units in the third quarter of 2007, an increase of eight per cent from the same period last year.

Buoyed by the Apple iPhone the North American handset market continued to exhibit strong growth. Sales to end users reached 45 million units in the third quarter of 2007, a 10.3 per cent increase from the same period in 2006.

The iPhone was a major catalyst for AT&T's performance this quarter, as it drove customers into AT&T stores. Apple iPhone sold more than one million units in its first quarter, said Gartner.

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