The group's net profits fell by 9.4 percent between January and September compared to the same period a year earlier, to €2.85 billion ($3.6 billion), it said in a statement.
The company's preferred measure, operating income before depreciation and amortization, fell 12.6 percent to €12.33 billion. Sales fell by 11 percent to €38 billion.
The sell-off of subsidiaries Telefonica Czech Republic and Telefonica Ireland weighed on profits for the period, the company said. Those businesses disappeared from its accounts in July.
Also, "the year-on-year evolution of exchange rates negatively impacted financial results," it added, citing currency depreciation in Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil.
Telefonica's chairman Cesar Alierta said he saw scope for growth thanks to the recent acquisition of E-Plus in Germany and its move to buy broadband firm GVT in Brazil.