An IDC study of the Indian handset market sparked some debate, with the company’s figures for Nokia irking the Finnish handset giant, according to local reports. While the analyst firm says that Nokia is still the largest vendor, with a market share of 36.3 percent, this is down from 54 percent at the end of 2009 – and two years ago, its share was above 70 percent. Times of India says that Nokia has questioned a number of the report’s assertions: IDC does not include shipments from Nokia’s manufacturing facility in Chennai, because most of these are exports, although Nokia says that half of the devices produced at the site are for sale in the country; it questioned the fact that IDC believes there are 35 “emerging vendors” taking 33.2 percent of the market, arguing that with Chinese companies who are active in the market “sporadically,” the total is closer to 80; and that IDC’s basis for calculating device market shares are inaccurate, being based on shipments, rather than sales. India’s Economic Times says that IDC “sticks by its numbers,” and a Gartner analyst, while declining to comment on IDC’s figures, did agree with the trends – that Nokia is losing market share, with competition at the low-end especially tough as local device makers begin offering more feature-rich devices.

IDC also reports a strong growth in multi-SIM devices, which accounted for 38.5 percent of handsets sold during the second quarter of 2010, compared with less than 1 percent in the first quarter of 2009. This “unique” trend has been driven by the debut of a number of new service providers who are “responding with highly competitive tariff plans to a price-sensitive mobile telephony user market” – with users clearly keen to play-the-field to get the best call rates. As part of its damning of IDC’s report, Nokia says that based on its own calculations, multi-SIM devices make up 22 percent of the market, rather than 38.5 percent – some industry observers have criticised the Finnish company for being late to the multi-SIM game. IDC also highlighted the growth of a number of what it brands “emerging vendors”, with 35 vendors falling into this category and jointly accounting for 33.2 percent of the market (although as noted, these figures have been questioned).  These new entrants have carved out a niche by offering low-cost handsets which have appealed to first time buyers, especially in rural areas. Nokia remains the biggest handset supplier, with 36.3 percent of the market, with Samsung second (8.2 percent) – and the top five is completed by less familiar names G’Five, Micromax and Spice. Overall, the market grew by 6.3 percent quarter-on-quarter, to reach an “all time high” of 38.63 million units in a single period.