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HELSINKI, May 8 (Reuters) - Nokia Oyj NOK1V.HE, the world’s top cellphone maker, expects to sell 35 million Global Positioning System (GPS) equipped phones this year, its chief executive said on Thursday.
“We expect to ship about 35 million GPS-enabled Nokia devices in 2008, which is equal to the entire GPS device market in 2007,” CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo told the annual shareholders’ meeting.
Nokia’s $8.1 billion acquisition of U.S.-based navigation firm Navteq NVT.N, which is still pending regulatory approval in the European Union, is a good deal, Kallasvuo said.
“When we look at it with the eyes we have now, when regarding pedestrian navigation, map services, digital maps, we are even more excited about the opportunities than when making the decision,” Kallasvuo said.
Most phones sold this year go to customers who already have a phone, and Nokia CEO said: “Globally, we expect replacement sales to represent more than 70 percent of the industry’s volume in 2008.”
The Finnish cellphone maker said recently it is set to introduce many new phone models through U.S. carriers in coming months to grab a bigger share of the market there.
Kallasvuo said he sees better times ahead for Nokia in the United States, where according to the research firm Strategy Analytics its market share has collapsed from 20 percent to 7 percent over the past two years.
This compares with Nokia’s own estimate of a 39 percent global market share in the first quarter.
“I ask for some more patience from the shareholders,” he said. “There is quite a lot better to be seen ahead (in the U.S.),” Kallasvuo said.
As part of Nokia’s increasing push to the Internet services market, Kallasvuo said when going forward Nokia aims to act less like a traditional hardware company and more like an Internet firm. (Reporting by Sami Torma, Writin