During a first quarter where most handset vendors are reporting steep losses in phone shipments, ZTE saw a 30% increase in phones and datacards shipped. Of the 10 million devices ZTE sold, 68% were outside of China’s borders demonstrating the increasing strength of ZTE beyond its home market.
ZTE is still a tiny player in the global handset market, compared to Nokia, which saw its shipments fall 19% year over year to 93.2 million; and Samsung, which boosted handset sales to 34.8 million. But ZTE is starting to catch up vendors lower down in the rankings. LG shipped 22.6 million devices in the first quarter, down 7%,while Sony Ericsson’s decline was more dramatic, down 35% to 14.5 million units. Motorola won’t report its Q1 results until Thursday, but the once powerful handset vendor has seen its phone shipments fall steadily, yet dramatically, for multiple quarters, ending the fourth quarter of 2008 with 19.2 million shipments.
In the US, ZTE supplies fast-growing regional operator MetroPCS with CDMA phones for its expansion markets, making its C78 music phone the second-best-selling device on Metro’s network. While ZTE didn’t break out numbers for the US, it did reveal sales figures by technology. ZTE shipped 2.5 million CDMA handsets in the first quarter, more than entire number of CDMA devices shipped throughout 2008. ZTE also shipped 2 million PC data cards.