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Nokia Networks cuts 1,800 jobs

The Finnish cellular company says it plans to lay off staff in its struggling telephone network equipment division.

Handset maker Nokia announced Thursday that it will eliminate 1,800 jobs in its struggling telephone network equipment division.

The cutbacks within Nokia Networks are among the "strong measures" that the company is taking "to reduce costs, improve profitability and further strengthen" the gear-making division, according to a statement from the Finnish company.

Nokia Networks warned on March 11 that it would post a substantial loss for the first quarter this year. It has yet to officially report its results. In February, it announced its intention to close several research and development sites.

Like most of the telecommunications industry, Nokia has been suffering from the spending slowdown by cell phone service providers trying to weather the ongoing economic slump. Some companies, like AT&T Wireless, have been forced to slow down plans to upgrade their networks. Although cell phone sales actually increased in 2002--a surprise to many--most in the industry believe 2003 will be another glum year.

The layoff announcement is the most recent from a maker of equipment for cellular networks, though last year saw similar job cuts at competitors Ericsson and Motorola.

About 1,100 jobs will be eliminated at Nokia Networks locations in Finland and the "remainder will be divided among different countries," according to the company.