Despite being the world's largest supplier of mobile phones, Nokia's profits are falling through the floor.

The company is blaming an 18 percent decline in profits in the three months up to the end of September mostly on the failure of telcos to take up 3G (third generation mobile services) — Nokia's networks division, which makes equipment for telephone companies, took the biggest hit. But profits in Nokia's mobile phone division also shrank by three percent.

Nokia officials predict than it will only get worse for sales to telcos in the next three months, but they do expect a big upturn in handset sales. This is no surprise, as it is in the run up to Christmas that the company hopes to shift a sizeable chunk of the 390 million phones it reckons will be sold worldwide this year.

This situation contrasts with Nokia's rival Ericsson, whose mobile phone handset arm was doing so badly it effectively flogged off production to Sony. But Ericsson is still making a tidy sum from selling kit to telcos.

Maybe Nokia and Ericsson should get together.