Worldwide mobile phone shipments totaled 287.1 million units in the third quarter of 2009 according to report today from IDC.

IDC`s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker shows that sales in the July to Septembers time frame were down 6.0% from the same period a year earlier but up 5.6% from the second quarter of this year.

Ramon Llamas, a senior research analyst with IDC said that falling prices on older devices was the primary reason for increased volume and expects the numbers to continue to trend higher in the final quarter of the year.

The North American market posted mixed results for the third quarter. The United States posted positive results, with converged mobile devices and prepaid handsets once again driving growth. Meanwhile, the Canadian mobile phone market declined for the third straight quarter despite double-digit converged mobile device growth.

The tepid Canadian economy, shrinking traditional phone segment, and inventory clear out by the largest service providers led to the market's weaker three-month performance.

Outside of North America, IDC reports the Western European market showed strong signs of recovery while the Latin American and Asian Pacific markets was were weak thanks to longer replacement cycles, anemic user demand, and decreased handset subsidies in some countries.

Nokia was the top handset maker Nokia with 108.5 million units shipped down 8% from the third quarter of 2008. Even worse the company average selling price declined which sent Nokia’s overall revenues down 20%.

Samsung reached a new record by shipping more than 60 million units in a single quarter and was the number two handset maker followed by LG (31.6 million), Sony Ericsson (14.1 million) and Motorola (13.6 million). The big five mobile phone vendors accounted for 79.4% of mobile phones sold worldwide.