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Sharp tops Japan 2005/06 cellphone shipments-study

Written by: Staff

TOKYO, Apr 24 (Reuters) Sharp shipped most mobile phones in Japan for the first time in the business year ended in March, edging out NEC Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. with a market share of 16.3 percent, a study showed on Monday.

MM Research Institute said overall mobile phone shipments in Japan rose 5.2 percent to 46.25 million units, helped by new designs and features such as music and full Internet browsers.

More users are also upgrading to high-speed advanced third-generation phones.

Sharp's market share rose two percentage points in the year to March 31, when it shipped 7.6 million units, supplying both NTT DoCoMo Inc. and Vodafone K.K., a unit of Britain's Vodafone Group Plc Sharp, No.3 in the previous year, could gain further as it also supplies KDDI Corp., MM Research said.

Japanese mobile phone makers typically supply just one operator exclusively.

Matsushita's Panasonic brand phones kept No.2 position, thanks to the popularity of its phones with removable face plates, though its share fell to 16.1 percent from 17.3 percent.

NEC fell to No.3 from the top spot, its market share slipping to 15.8 percent from 18.6 percent.

Matsushita and NEC are the main suppliers to DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile operator.

Toshiba Corp. made the biggest gain in share, jumping 5.4 percentage points to 13.4 percent, MM Research said.

The market research firm expects this business year to be a strong one for mobile phone makers, helping by a regulation allowing users to keep their phone number if switching operators.

It expects mobile phone shipments to rise 10.5 percent this year to 51.1 million units.


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