Nokia sold 8.8 million Lumia smartphones in Q3

Nokia reported a net loss of a!91 million, down from a!959 million a year earlier

Nokia once again sold a record number of Lumia smartphones during the third quarter, helping the company narrow its net loss.

The company reported third-quarter sales of a!5.66 billion (US$7.79 billion), down 22 percent year on year, and a net loss of a!91 million, down from a!959 million a year earlier.

Nokia sold a total of 64.6 million mobile phones during the third quarter, including 8.8 million Lumia devices. The increase in Lumia volumes was primarily due to sales of the Lumia 520, which is Nokia's cheapest Windows Phone model. There was also some good news in North America where sales grew from 300,000 units to 1.4 million. A year earlier, Nokia sold 82.9 million phones, of which 6.3 million were smart devices, including smartphones running both Windows Phone and Symbian.

"The number of handsets it sold is on the low side, but the smartphone number is heading in the right direction," said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics.

To put the 8.8 million Lumias in some context: Samsung Electronics sold 88.4 million smartphones, Apple 33.8 million and Huawei Technologies 12.7 million during the third quarter to become the top three vendors, according to Strategy Analytics' research.

Two major things happened at Nokia during the third quarter: It announced plans to sell its Devices & Services business to Microsoft, and completed the acquisition of Siemens' stake in what is now called Nokia Solutions and Networks.

Nokia's shareholders are scheduled to vote on the Microsoft deal next month. If all goes well, the transaction is expected to close in the first three months of next year.

"From Nokia's perspective it's business as usual until the deal is approved by shareholders and gets regulatory approval. Given where Windows Phone is, maintaining momentum is incredibly important for both Nokia and Microsoft. The bottom line is that they can't afford to be distracted," said Geoff Blaber, CCS Insight's vice president of research for the Americas.

To keep up its momentum, Nokia will rely on the six new devices it launched last week, including the Lumia 1520.

Once Microsoft has taken control, it has a huge number of decisions to make, including brand alignment, how the devices business should structured within Microsoft, and the level of autonomy it should have, according to Blaber.

"That will likely be a challenging integration process. But obviously the faster it is, the better," Blaber said.

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