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MORE AMERICANS ARE PACKING FINNISH PHONES

SCORE ONE FOR THE FINNS. Finland's Nokia Corp. now has the lion's share of the U.S. market for digital wireless phones, says market researcher Dataquest Inc. Nokia doubled its share, to 40.3%, during the first three quarters of 1998, up from 19.8% in the year-earlier period. Those gains came at the expense of Ericsson and Qualcomm Inc., which both saw their share halved, moving them down a notch to Nos. 2 and 4, respectively.

It's not all bad news for U.S. wireless-phone makers, though. Motorola Inc., the longtime industry leader that stumbled badly in the digital market and is now the industry's No.3 player, recovered modestly by capturing 11.5% of the market, compared with 6.3% in the same period in 1997.

Why are Nokia and Motorola up and the others down? Unlike Ericsson and Qualcomm, both have been buoyed by key phone introductions in the past year as well as their ability to offer phones that work with all three of the digital wireless standards in the U.S. ''Since the big boys have shown up in the market, they've been able to take share,'' says analyst Matt Hoffman of Dataquest.

By Peter Elstrom
EDITED BY IRA SAGER



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