Nokia predicts staggered demand for 5G kit in 2019

Nokia will compete with Ericsson, Samsung and Huawei in the infrastructure market, with all hoping that demand for 5G kit will offset falling sales for 4G equipment.

Nokia expects staggered sales of its telecommunications network equipment in 2019, reflecting the 5G rollout plans of operators

The Finnish mobile giant said that although it had strong customer engagement with 5G, is happy with its portfolio, and expects sales of equipment to be “robust” throughout the next 12 months – it was likely that the first half of the year would be less impressive than the second half.

Nokia 5G

The first 5G networks have already gone live in the US, but the arrival of compatible handsets in the next few months will see more operators offer enhanced mobile broadband services to customers. 5G will also enable a new range of applications for consumers and businesses that go beyond Internet access.

Rajeev Suri, Nokia CEO, said he expects 5G networks will be a plentiful source of growth.

“Given that 5G rollouts will be staggered over the course of the year, we expect 2019 to have a soft first half followed by a much more robust second half,” he told investors.

“Over the longer-term, we expect a virtuous cycle of investment, where operators update their networks across multiple domains - from optical to macro radio, fixed wireless access to cloud core, small cells to IP routing, network agnostic software and more. Following this, we expect a second wave where industrial customers will invest in private wireless technology including LTE and 5G-ready networks. With our end-to-end portfolio, Nokia is well-positioned to tap this extended cycle.”

Even without 5G, it has been a good quarter for the company with net sales rising by three per cent to €6.87 billion and operating profits jumping by a third to €552 billion.

Nokia is currently in the middle of a cost-cutting exercise as it seeks to save €700 million, with another wave of job cuts announced earlier this month.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.