Intensifying competition and delays in rolling out 5G equipment for the next generation of mobile phone networks pushed Nokia deeper into the red in the first quarter, the company said Thursday. Net losses more than doubled from the same period last year to hit 446 million euros ($497 million), and compared to a 193 million euros profit in the final three months of last year.
Chief executive Rajeev Suri acknowledged that the quarter was weak for the Finnish firm, which is widely seen as trailing China’s Huawei and Sweden’s Ericsson in the race to supply operators with the equipment needed to build next-generation 5G networks.
“We expected that it would be, and the outcome has not changed our perspective on the full year,” added Suri.
“5G revenues are expected to grow sharply, particularly in the second half of the year, driven by our 36 commercial wins to date,” he added.
Nokia said it delayed booking 200 million euros in revenues it had expected in the first quarter.
Nevertheless sales edged up two percent to 5.0 billion euros in the three months period.
Analyst Mikael Rautanen at Inderes, a Nordic investor research firm, said the results “were below expectations, especially if you compare them to Ericsson and Huawei, which made a solid start to the year.”
He also noted that increased competition was pushing down operating margins. Nokia shares slumped by as much as 10.9 percent in morning trade in Helsinki.