February 1, 2018 / 1:46 PM / 4 months ago

Nokia mobile networks 'coming back very fast', says CEO

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The mobile networks business of Nokia (NOKIA.HE) is showing signs of a rebound and gaining market share from rival Ericsson (ERICb.ST), Chief Executive Rajeev Suri said on Thursday.

“We are coming back very fast,” Suri said of the Finnish company’s mobile networks business, which has struggled with declining revenue in recent years after demand for the current generation of network equipment appeared to peak in 2015.

Earlier, Nokia posted better-than-expected quarterly profits and forecast a recovery in profits by 2020, encouraging investors spooked last year by a weakening equipment market and acquisition integration missteps.

“We see some positive signs coming from our North American customers,” Suri said. “The desire to move fast to 5G is certainly there.”

    Nokia has refreshed key product lines in the past year to get ready for the next generation of 5G network equipment and believes these upgrades are 12 to 18 months ahead of rivals.

    “I expect we will increase our 5G share relative to what we had in 4G,” Suri said, referring to next generation networks set to take off from 2019.

    Shares of Nokia were up 9.4 percent at 4.24 euros on the Helsinki stock exchange at 1330 GMT.

    Reporting by Eric Auchard; editing by Jason Neely

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