Nokia improved on its leading share of the global mobile phone market by nearly 4 percent in the first quarter while Motorola's share fell by more than 8 percent as rivals Samsung and LG advanced, according to new research.

Nokia shipped the most phones during the first three months of the year with Samsung in second place, Motorla in third, LG in fourth and Sony Ericsson coming in fifth, according to Gartner research. Nokia shipped 115.2 million phone as its share of the market rose to 39.1 percent from 35.5 percent in the same period a year ago.

Nokia was able to maintain market leadership thanks to the richness of its portfolio, which appeals to users in both emerging and mature markets, Gartner said in a report. Ultra-low-cost phone sales remained strong but competition in the high end was growing.

To stay ahead, Nokia will have to continue to integrate new technologies in its handsets and improve usability and design.

Overall mobile phone sales worldwide grew 13.6 percent to 294.3 million units in the first quarter. Sales in Western Europe fell 16.4 percent, the first decline since Gartner began tracking the mobile devices market since 2001.

While sales in emerging markets continued to be driven by strong net new subscribers' growth, mature markets felt the pressure of an uncertain economic environment, said Carolina Milanesi, research director for mobile devices at Gartner.

Samsung sold 42.4 million phones as its market share grew 2 percent to 14.4 percent. Milanesi said the company needed to strengthen its lower-end phones to boost sales in emerging markets.

Meanwhile, Motorola sold 29.9 million units with its market share falling by 8.2 percent to 10.2 percent in the first quarter. The company is struggling to find a replacement for its popular Razr phone.

LG sold 23.6 million units as its market share grew to 8 percent compared with 6.2 percent in the same quarter a year ago. Sony Ericsson sold 22.1 million phones as its market share fell to 7.5 percent from 8.4 percent.

Other phone manufacturers sold 61.1 million phones combined. Their overall share grew to 20.8 percent from 19.1 percent.

Correction:An article posted on May 29 incorrectly stated that Nokia lost market share during the first quarter. Nokia's marketshare increased from 35.5 percent in the first quarter of 2007 to 39.1 percent in the first quarter of 2008, according to Gartner research.