Struggling telecoms gear maker Nokia Siemens Networks is to axe 17,000 jobs to help cut annual operating costs by around 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion).

The move comes as the joint venture of Finnish group Nokia and German conglomerate Siemens faces pressure from Swedish company Ericsson and Chinese rivals. It has reached at best small underlying profits from operations.

The parents have said they want to make the venture more independent, with a listing seen as one of the options within a few years.

As we look toward the prospect of an independent future, we need to take action now to improve our profitability and cash generation, Nokia Siemens Chief Executive Rajeev Suri said in a statement.

The venture will focus on mobile broadband equipment and offering services to operators, while it aims to exit from several smaller businesses which are mostly related to fixed-line operations.

Nokia Siemens Networks plans to reduce its global workforce of 74,000 by 23 percent, cutting around 17,000 jobs.