Sales of mobile phone handsets rose just 2.4% last year according to a study by US-based research company Strategy Analytics released at the 3GSM Congress in Cannes. The report claims that sales have slowed significantly from the average yearly growth of 60% during boom years of the late 1990s with 422 million handsets sold during 2002, just 10 million more the year before. Finnish manufacturer Nokia continued to extend its overall market share – measured by shipments to retailers and operators – to 36.1%, up from 35.6% in 2001, while its US rival Motorola had a strong fourth quarter with its share rising 1.9% to 16.8%. South Korea-based Samsung made the biggest gain, with its share rising 2.8% to 10.1%, to overtake Germany’s Siemens, which possessed 8.5%, up from 7.3%. The outlook for Sony Ericsson remained bleak as its market share fell from 7.3% to 5.5%, despite some growth in the fourth quarter. Strategy Analytics said that manufacturers are expecting to ship 448 million handsets to retailers and distributers during 2003, up 7% on last year, as they pin their hopes on the desirability of next generation handsets to boost revenues. The research group said that 18 million camera phones were sold last year, mainly in Asia, and predicts that sales in Europe should help double that figure during 2003.