Finnish telecoms giant Nokia has reported an unexpected loss in an early blow in its battle to dominate the upcoming launch of faster 5G wireless networks.
Nokia’s loss for the first three months of 2019 was €116m (£100m) in what chief executive Rajeev Suri called “a bit of a perfect storm” amid underwhelming sales of 5G software.
The results come after Nokia’s biggest rivals, Swedish telecoms firm Ericsson and embattled Chinese firm Huawei, both posted revenue and profits growth.
Ericsson’s shares hit a four year high after beating analyst expectations last week, while Nokia shares fell as much as 11pc in early trading on Thursday, their lowest level in six months.
Suri said some rivals were seeking to be “more commercially aggressive in the early stages of 5G”. The company added that this “intensity could increase in some accounts as some competitors seek to take share in the early phases of 5G”.
The Nokia boss said that some customers were reassessing their vendors in the light of continued concerns around cyber security in the launch of 5G. Suri said concerns from customers over Huawei “created near-term pressure but longer-term opportunity”.
Nokia added it had secured 36 commercial contract wins for 5G technology to date. The new network technology is expected to provide mobile data speeds of anywhere between 10 and 100 times current rates and enable new technologies.
Sales for Nokia increased 2pc to €5bn. The company said it expected profits to increase as sales of 5G picked up later in the year and as a €700m cost cutting plan took effect.