Finland's Nokia on Thursday reported stronger-than-expected quarterly profits for its core network equipment business on the back of network roll-outs for faster 4G mobile services in North America.
Nokia, which ranks third in the global network gear market after Ericsson and Huawei said its equipment unit's core operating profit rose to 470 million euros ($530 million) in the fourth quarter, or 14% of sales, from 397 million euros in the previous quarter.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had on average expected a profit of 415 million euros and a margin of 12.4%.
The network unit, previously a troubled joint venture with Siemens, in past years divested non-core activities and cut thousands of jobs, and sharpened its focus to the mobile broadband networks business.
Nokia's chief executive Rajeev Suri said the company was ready to take more steps to grow this year.
"While 2014 was a year of reinvention, we see 2015 as a year of execution."
"As we pursue... opportunities, we will not shy away from investing where we need to invest," Suri, who in his previous role led the turnaround at the Networks unit, said in a statement.
Nokia also said it plans to pay an annual dividend 0.14 euros per share, compared to 0.16 euros expected by the analysts. Last year it paid an extra 0.26 euros on top of an annual dividend of 0.11 euros.
Nokia last year sold its former flagship phone business to Microsoft, leaving it with the network unit, navigation technology business and a smartphone patent portfolio.