Cautious operators hit Ericsson, Nokia sales

Weakened demand for mobile devices in many key markets put a dampener on quarterly results for Scandinavian mobility giants Ericsson and Nokia last week. Swedish Ericsson saw sales fall 9% over the same period in 2009 to SEK 45.1bn (£4.06bn) with net profits sliding 30% to SEK 1.3bn.

Weakened demand for mobile devices in many key markets put a dampener on quarterly results for Scandinavian mobility giants Ericsson and Nokia last week.

Swedish Ericsson saw sales fall 9% over the same period in 2009 to SEK 45.1bn (£4.06bn) with net profits sliding 30% to SEK 1.3bn.

Meanwhile, across the Baltic Sea, Finnish counterpart Nokia made sales of €9.5bn (£8.18bn), up 3% and operating profit of €488m, up from €55m this time last year.

In a statement Ericsson said it saw "mixed operator investment behaviour across regions and markets," according to CEO Hans Vestberg.

"Operators in a number of developing markets were still cautious with their investments, which impacted Networks' sales," he added.

Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said that "tough competition with respect to the high-end of our mobile device portfolio, as well as challenging market conditions on the infrastructure side" meant the firm's results had missed previous expectations.

Nokia Siemens Networks in particular has struggled - Q1 sales at the unit were down 9% - while Nokia itself, which still leads the global handset market in shipment terms, was criticised after failing to come up with a high-end smartphone to compete with Apple's dominant iPhone.

With companies such as HTC and Samsung, which are ramping up deployment of Android phones, snapping at Nokia's heels, the firm is coming under pressure to release the delayed versions 3 and 4 of its Symbian OS.

The new platforms have been billed as crucial to restoring Nokia's competitive edge.

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