x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Nokia results signal firm is in big trouble everywhere

Nokia's sales of mobile phones and services have declined by 31 per cent in the Middle East and Africa, more than the global average in what was a dismal first quarter for the company.

Nokia's sales of mobile phones and services have declined by 31 per cent in the Middle East and Africa, more than the global average in what was a dismal first quarter for the company.

The Finnish mobile maker lost €929 million (Dh4.48bn) in the first three months of this year amid tough competition from Apple and handsets running Android software.

Nokia sold 21.4 million mobiles in the Middle East and Africa in the first three months of the year, a 17 per cent decline on the previous quarter.

Regional sales in Nokia's key Devices & Services division amounted to €737m in the first quarter of the year, a 31 per cent decline on the previous quarter. That was greater than the global decline of 29 per cent in that division.

Matthew Reed, a senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, said Nokia's woes in the Middle East mirrored those it faced worldwide.

"It has been left behind in the smartphone market," he said. "Nokia is facing similar difficulties here in the Middle East to those that it is facing at a global level."

Nokia last year signed a partnership with Microsoft to incorporate the Windows Phone operating system on its high-end mobile devices.

However, it has not yet launched this range - dubbed the Lumia - in the Middle East, nor has it set a timetable for the regional rollout.

Mr Reed said while the Lumia range had received good reviews that was "no guarantee of success".

Petr Molik, the head of the research division at Mena Corp, agreed Nokia had fallen behind in the smartphone market.

"On a global scale, they are under big pressure from Apple and Android phones," said Mr Molik. "They are in big trouble even with their new phones, and their customer base is eroding."

Mr Molik added Nokia's success in lower-range handsets was not proving profitable.

"They are still very strong in the basic phones. But as of today there is no profits in these phones," he said.

Nokia yesterday promised substantial cost cutting.

bflanagan@thenational.ae