Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson are dominating the European mobile phone market, while sales over at troubled Motorola are dropping rapidly. New figures from analyst firm IDC show that some 87 million mobile phones were sold during the second quarter of 2007. That's up 8 per cent on the 80 million handsets sold during the same period last year.

Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung are all benefiting from the problems at rival mobile phone maker Motorola.

Nokia currently holds 51 per cent of the European mobile phone market, due to its "balanced product portfolio" and "focus on products with good margins" IDC said. Over at Motorola, however, the situation is the opposite - the firm has problems both with profitability and its product lines.

The iPhone effect

The strong results at Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung are not just down to performance at the firms themselves, IDC said. A certain new device going by the name of Apple iPhone, and the hype surrounding it, has driven up interest in mobile phones and what they are capable of.

"The Apple iPhone shed light on lesser-known functionalities already integrated in mobile devices, like mapping and browsing, and raised the general level of knowledge on what mobile devices can do nowadays," said Jean Philippe Bouchard, senior research analyst for EMEA mobile devices at IDC.

According to IDC, Nokia's most profitable handsets are the Nokia N95, Nokia E65, and the Nokia 6300.

Samsung sells 32 per cent of mobile phones in Europe, up from 29 per cent last year, while Sony Ericsson holds 14 per cent of the market. Motorola only has 6 per cent, mainly due to low sales of its flagship Razr line.