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Jan 29 (Reuters) - 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 China and North America.
Nokia, which ranks third in the global network gear market, said the unit's core operating profit rose to 470 million euros ($530 million) in the fourth quarter, or 14 percent 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 percent.
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 equipment unit, navigation technology business and a smartphone patent portfolio.
($1 = 0.8868 euros) (Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Stephen Coates)
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