Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Nokia enter the Christmas quarter in a close tussle for UK top spot, each armed with an expansive prepay range and new flagship models at the high end.
Latest GfK sales figures show Samsung is currently top of the prepay charts and just three per cent behind Nokia for contract handsets, with 27 per cent of the market. Sony Ericsson follows close behind with 26 per cent.
The launch of Samsung’s Windows Mobile Omnia phone last week, plus its new i850 8 megapixel handset, will help it close the gap for contract sales further, said Samsung vice president for the UK and Ireland Mark Mitchinson (pictured with i850).
"There’s no reason why we can’t be number one. We’re only three per cent away and we’d like to have a 30 per cent plus share of the market by the end of the year.
"Nokia has been dominant for some considerable time and it has been as unhealthy for them as much as anyone else. Competition is really heating up and it’s really good for business.
"I don’t know whether Sony Ericsson has the depth in its range to challenge us and we’re not going to give up our strong second place easily. It’s going to be a very interesting final quarter; for the last nine years we’ve not competed in prepay around Christmas.
"This is going to be our first year ever, so it will make for interesting watching."
Sony Ericsson also has an 8-megapixel cameraphone launching this year, while UK market leader Nokia will launch the N96 in October.
Sony Ericsson UK and Ireland marketing director Dave Hilton said: "There’s a real three way tussle going on in terms of leadership. It’s a clear three-way fight; it’s not like Samsung are running away with this, it’s a very interesting and competitive marketplace.
"We know we have a very strong second half of the year and we’re really positive. This is just one moment in time and the stats do change on a fairly constant basis."