Brace yourselves: It's third-quarter results day for Nokia, and, predictably, they don't make happy reading. Operating losses widened, from €71 million (US$93 million) in the year-ago quarter to €576 million ($755 million) this time round. Sales of mobile devices globally were down 22 percent year-on-year, to 82.9 million units, with sales in the Greater China region down a scary 78 percent in value terms. In the smart devices category, where Nokia hopes the flagship Lumia models will help claw back market share, sales were down 56 percent year-on-year to €976 million ($1.2 billion). There were a few improvements compared with the second quarter, though, and the company's infrastructure joint venture Nokia Networks improved its sales and margins. (See Analyst Labels Latest Lumia Launch as 'Tepid' and Euronews: Nokia Loses $1.9B in Q2.)
The European Union's Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, wants Hutchison 3G Austria to sell off spectrum as a condition of its proposed £1.3 billion ($2.1 billion) takeover of Orange Austria Telecommunication GmbH. , according to a report in the Financial Times (subscription required). Almunia and his team have earlier raised formal objections to the deal, because of the fear that "higher concentration" in the Austrian mobile market might ensue. (See EC Looks Again at Orange Austria Takeover.)
Still in the land of the original Wiener Schnitzel, T-Mobile Austria is looking to develop new ways of coping with the tough economic climate through a range of measures, reports Reuters. One wheeze is to have the company's top brass gather for two days a week until the end of January purely to strategize. Sounds better than working.
The U.K.'s operators could soon be facing the wrath of regulator Ofcom over their tendency to yank up tariffs during fixed-term contracts. Following the examination of complaints from disgruntled consumers on the receiving end of such price rises, Ofcom plans to consult on the matter and publish its findings by the end of the year.
On a more positive note, the U.K.'s mobile operators have issued a joint statement with Ofcom to trumpet how they are making progress on speeding up the deployment of 4G mobile phone services in the 800MHz frequency band vacated by the so-called "digital switchover" (which saw the nation's TVs say goodbye to the analog signal). The four operators -- EE , Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2), Three UK and Vodafone UK -- have formed a joint company called Digital Mobile Spectrum, which will be responsible for ensuring that TV viewers continue to receive clear digital TV signals on the Freeview platform following the rollout of 4G services. (See Brits Braced for 4G .)
Third-quarter profits at Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO), the Swedish operator with strong interests in Russia, Central Europe and Eurasia, were down 22.1 percent year-on-year to 980 million Swedish kroner ($149.6 million), despite net sales being up 5 percent at SEK10.9 billion ($1.6 billion). Mobile now accounts for 80 percent of all Tele2's revenues.