iPhone is set to become the mobile phone brand of choice for Australians, according to new research by Millward Brown.

A survey of 400 Australian mobile phone consumers conducted by the research company as part of its 2009 BrandZ brand equity research, found iPhone was perceived to have more brand strengths than Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and BlackBerry.

iPhone’s brand ‘Voltage’, a derived measure of the probability of growing brand share, is the highest ever seen in Australia. It suggests an almost certain increase in share in the next 12 months and mirrors 2009 BrandZ survey findings from other markets such as the USA and Brazil.

Apple was named the sixth most valuable brand in the world in the Millward Brown Optimor 2009 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking where it was also ranked fourth according to brand momentum, a measurement predicting short-term growth prospects.

Its nearest competitor, BlackBerry, also has a higher chance of growing share than losing it, although the degree of certainty was not as marked.

However, iPhone was outperformed by its rivals on a range of brand metrics including ‘Bonding’, a measure of current brand equity, with Nokia continuing to have the strongest relationship with consumers.

Overall, BlackBerry’s brand metrics increased from 2008, while there was some softening in the results for Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson.

“After little more than 12 months in the Australian market, iPhone has gained a strong brand position. Our research has confirmed it is now on par with Nokia in terms of popularity, even though only nine percent of those surveyed actually owned an iPhone. This bodes well for iPhone when those consumers upgrade their handsets,” said Millward Brown’s Sydney managing director, Daren Poole.

These findings follow Apple’s fourth quarter results announcement in October which revealed iPhone sales rose 7% to 7.4 million handsets in the September 2009 quarter and 46% of the company’s revenue for the quarter came from international sales.