LONDON: The mobile phone sector returned to growth in Western Europe for the first time in over a year during the third quarter of 2009, recent research from IDC has shown.

According to the company, the regional mobile market expanded by 5% on an annual basis from July to September, and by double-digits compared with Q2, with 46.8 million handsets being shipped overall.

Francisco Jeronimo, IDC's European mobile devices research manager, said "the mobile phone market is showing strong signs of improvement since the onset of the economic crisis."

Traditional mobiles enjoyed a 6% uptick year-on-year, boosted by touchscreen and messaging devices manufactured by Samsung and LG.

"Converged" mobiles, by contrast, were down 2% on Q3 2008, but up by the same amount quarter-on-quarter, helped by the continuing strength of Apple'siPhone and Research in Motion'sBlackBerry.

Indeed, the decline in this segment was attributed not to a lack of interest among consumers, but the failure of manufacturers to match demand.

Nokia had a 35.3% share of the total market in the third quarter, down 1%, followed by Samsung on 30.5%, up almost 2%, as the latter company closing the gap on its major rival.
Over the same timeframe, LG also climbed above Sony Ericsson to become the third biggest player in this segment, with these two organisations posting figures of 11% and 10% respectively.

Data sourced from IDC; additional content by Warc staff