GartnerGroup's Dataquest Says Nokia Became No. 1 Mobile Phone Vendor in 1998

Upcoming Dataquest Predicts 99 Conferences to Forecast Future of the Industry

Egham, United Kingdom, February 8, 1999—Driven by the popularity of digital mobile phones, worldwide sales of mobile telephone terminals to consumers reached 162.9 million units, an increase of 51 percent over 1997 shipments, according to Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner Group Inc. (NYSE: IT). Digital mobile phone sales surpassed analog phones in 1998, as digital accounted for 84.6 percent of total mobile phone sales.

Because of the transition to digital, Nokia moved past Motorola to take the No. 1 position in the worldwide mobile telephone terminal market, as Nokia's market share totaled 22.9 percent (see Table 1). Motorola held its No. 1 position in the analog segment, but Nokia posted the strongest growth in the total mobile telephone market, as Nokia's shipments increased 81.5 percent.

"Nokia has based its product strategy on a few product platforms that have been adapted to all digital standards," said Peter Richardson, principal analyst for Dataquest's Mobile Communications Worldwide program. "The company's product designs and feature sets were created from an intelligently conceived market segmentation plan that looked to consumer desire for inspiration, not simply engineering ability."

Table 1
Worldwide Mobile Telephone Terminal Sales Estimates for 1998 (Thousands of Units)
Company 1998
Unit Sales
1998 Market
Share (%)
Unit Sales
1997 Market
Share (%)
Growth (%)
Nokia 37,374 22.9 20,593 19.1 81.5
Motorola 32,319 19.8 25,328 23.5 27.6
Ericsson 23,827 14.6 15,914 14.8 49.7
Panasonic 13,397 8.2 8,627 8.0 55.3
Alcatel 6,967 4.3 2,631 2.4 64.8
Others 48,972 30.0 34,725 32.2 41.0
Total Market 162,856 100.0 107,818 100.0 51.0
Note: Because of rounding, the total percentage in 1998 does not add to 100 percent.
Source: Dataquest (February 1999)

With 32.5 percent of mobile phone sales, Western Europe was the No. 1 region in the world. The United States was No. 2 with 17.1 percent of sales, followed by Japan with 16.5 percent of sales and the highest per capita level of sales for any country worldwide.

Dataquest analysts will examine the future of the telecommunications industry during GartnerGroup's Dataquest Predicts 99 Conferences. The conference will be held March 22-24 at the San Diego Hyatt in San Diego, California. Dataquest Predicts will then be held June 7-9 at the Hotel New York Convention Centre in Paris, France. Dataquest analysts will also provide their outlook for the other sectors of the high-technology industry. Additional information about the event is available on the GartnerGroup Web site at

Additional information on the mobile phone terminal market is available in Dataquest's Mobile Communications Worldwide program. This program provides detailed information on all major mobile sectors, providing reports and inquiry garnered from Dataquest's strong presence in each region. Additional information on this program is available on Dataquest's Web site at

To subscribe to this program, please call 800-419-DATA, or 408-468-8009. More information about Dataquest's programs, descriptions of recent research reports, and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at

GartnerGroup's Dataquest is the recognized leader in providing the high-technology and financial communities with market intelligence for the semiconductor, computer systems and peripherals, communications, document management, software, and services sectors of the global information technology industry.

As the world's leading authority on IT, GartnerGroup provides clients with a wide range of products and services in the areas of IT advisory services, measurement, research, decision support, analysis, and consulting. Founded in 1979, with headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, GartnerGroup is at the centre of a global community serving Fortune 1000 clients from 80 locations worldwide. Additional information about the company is available on the Internet at