Living up to analysts’ expectations, Samsung on Wednesday reported operating profit of about $15.5 billion for the third quarter -- up about 21%, year-over-year.
During the period, total smartphone shipments remained flat, which Samsung blamed on decreased sales of mid- to low-end phones.
Overall, profit for Samsung’s phone division decreased on-quarter, which it attributed to increased promotional costs and a negative currency impact.
Yet the South Korean tech giant said it expected a more modest fourth-quarter performance.
Looking ahead to Q4, Samsung said it expects its smartphone shipments to rise during the year-end peak season -- especially for its "mass product" lineup, including the new Galaxy A7 and A9.
More broadly, Samsung anticipates overall fourth-quarter earnings to decline as it enters a period of "weak seasonality" for the semiconductor market.
As for 2019, Samsung said earnings are likely to be weak for the first quarter, due to seasonality, but then strengthen as business conditions -- particularly in the memory market -- improve.
For all of 2019, Samsung actually expects “solid” earnings growth, which it believes will be bolstered by rising demand for image sensors used in more sophisticated camera specifications.
Among other efforts, Samsung said it is aiming to establish its networks business as a leader in 5G technology as it begins supplying related equipment to global markets.Along with 5G, the Apple arch-rival will continue to invest in other emerging technologies, including AI and automotive electronics.