Around 139 million mobile phones were sold in the third quarter of 2003, with analysts predicting total sales for the year to reach 500 million.
Third-quarter sales were up 22 per cent on the same period last year, according to Gartner.
The analyst reported that competition among vendors is hotting up. Industry leader Nokia's market share was eroded in the third quarter as it faced strong competition from Siemens and Samsung.
LG Electronics moved into the top five, narrowly pushing Sony Ericsson into sixth position.
Ben Wood, principal analyst at Gartner's European mobile communications group, said: "The market is growing on two fronts.
"We've hit a sweet spot for replacement sales in mature markets, while emerging markets such as Asia/Pacific and eastern Europe continue to sign new subscribers at a phenomenal pace."
In the mature markets, colour mobile terminals represent a growing proportion of total sales, with camera phones also doing well. Demand for low-cost terminals has continued, the research indicated.
All regions of the world were found to have experienced at least 18 per cent growth in the third quarter of 2003.
The EMEA region accounted for 35.5 per cent of global sales, fuelled by strong replacement buying in western Europe.
This was combined with strong sales in emerging markets such as eastern Europe, in particular Russia which saw sales of five million units.
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