Nokia Says It Dials Up Strong Growth

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Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

said it was extending its current growth forecast until 2003, providing good news in a time when most companies are warning their earnings are slowing. The Finnish mobile phone maker, the world's largest, said it expects 2001 growth to come in at the high end of a range between 25% and 35%, while growth in both 2002 and 2003 would be similar.

The company also said that it would have 1 billion mobile phone users by the first half of 2002, moving it up about six months. Previously, Nokia said it would pass the 1 billion mark by the end of 2002.

Lots of customers equals market share, so it should come as no surprise that Nokia was touting the fact it has 30% of the mobile phone market, close to double that of American competitor

Motorola

(MOT)

and nearly triple that of Swedish

Ericsson

(ERICY)

.

Buried in the press release about the future forecast were a handful of interesting tidbits, all of them focused on the future.

Nokia said it was targeting the emerging market in W-CMDA technology, one of many competing standards in the third generation wireless market. The company will provide W-CDMA network technology for

AT&T Wireless

(AWE)

in a deal it valued at more than $1 billion. Officially, Nokia has not signed the contract, but does have a letter of intent.

Additionally, Nokia said it was continuing to focus on Asian markets with the rollout of new second-generation CDMA handset phone models.

Will handheld computing surpass personal computing as a dominant force? Well, Nokia thinks so, saying that by 2002 it believes that web-connected handsets will surpass the PC. Right now, as of the year 2000, the company said there were approximately 40 million web-enabled handhelds, but by 2001 that number could reach 180 million.

Nokia also said it will be looking to become a dominant force in the replacement market, allowing people to trade in yesterday's cell-phone for today's foldable, flippable digital masterpiece. The company estimated that 40% to 50% of this year's buyers are upgrading their old phones, and that could increase to 70% to 80% in the coming years.

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