Nokia's network woes have deepened with plummeting sales as CEO Rajeev Suri warned pain within its core business is set to stretch into next year.

Suri used the announcement of the vendor's Q3 results this morning to bemoan the challenging state of its Mobile Networks business unit.

Sales dropped nine percent year-on-year to €4.82 billion, a widening of the five percent fall reported in the second quarter, and it booked a gross loss of €138 million.

Suri said: "We experienced some challenges in our Mobile Networks business and see a continued decline in our primary addressable market in 2018.

"That decline, which we estimate to be in the range of two percent to five percent, is the result of the multiple technology transitions underway; robust competition in China; and near-term headwinds from potential operator consolidation in a handful of countries."

Nokia's CEO added that the advent of 5G, expected in earnest from 2020, should turn things around for the vendor as that will be when "the benefits of our portfolio...become more apparent".

It downgraded its predictions for the Networks business further, after a pessimistic prediction in Q2, and warned of a tough 2018.

It said more details will coincide with the announcement of its Q4 results but listed factors including declining market health, uncertainty relating to project completions and competition worldwide.

Suri said the "extraordinarily high workload" that faces the vendor's R&D team has led to delays in some products but added that the vendor would continue as planned with its €1.2 billion cost saving programme for 2018.

Nokia Technologies, the vendor's smallest business unit, was the only positive performer during the quarter, posting a sales increase of 37 percent to €483 million and operating profit rise of 73 percent to €390 million.

Suri said this was largely down to patent licensing.

Elsewhere, the Ultra Broadband Networks business saw sales plummet 17 percent to €2.10 billion, Global Services' revenues were down two percent to €1.36 billion, and IP Networks and Applications' sales were down four percent to €1.37 billion.

The performance of its Technologies business helped Nokia to report an operating profit of €668 million, up 20 percent on a year ago.

Suri said: "In short, Q3 was a period in which we faced some challenges, but delivered good performance in many areas as well as momentum in the execution of our strategy."

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