Dutch operator KPN has ruled out Huawei as a supplier for its 5G core network, saying it will go with a “western” supplier, in line with increasing security concerns for vital infrastructure. Huawei will still be a supplier for the radio network, as part of the operator’s multi-vendor strategy.
In assessing plans for the upgrade of its network, KPN said it took into account “the evolving assessment on the protection of vital infrastructure and the influence this may have on future Dutch policy”. In this context, the company decided to tighten its security policy for its fixed and mobile network suppliers.
For the upgrade of the mobile radio and antenna network, KPN has signed a preliminary agreement to start preparations with Huawei. The company noted the preliminary agreement can be “adjusted or reversed to align it with future Dutch government policy”.
Govt policy by end-May
The Dutch government has already said it’s conducting a review of the 5G security concerns and will present its position by the end of May. As the former monopoly operator and a major provider for state services, KPN is already subject to increased security regulations for vital infrastructure.
Per KPN’s multi-vendor policy, KPN said it plans to select a Western vendor for building the new 5G mobile core network. It has already chosen Nokia as the vendor for its fixed network upgrade, in line with it’s previous work with Alctael-Lucent. It’s working with Nokia, ZTE, Huawei and Ericsson on 5G field trials, and Ericsson supplied the current mobile radio network.
The Dutch operator’s fixed core network and transport network have been provided by Huawei in recent years. This includes equipment at 161 metro core and four national core sites, as well as CDN, storage, servers and optical systems. In future, most operators expect the fixed and mobile core networks to converge, but it is unclear yet KPN’s schedule for such unification.
The mix of suppliers should allow the operator to push ahead with the roll-out of 5G while taking account the changing security assessment, it said. KPN said it is “continuously in dialogue on this topic with relevant stakeholders, including the government”.