Dutch Operator KPN Opts For Ericsson 5G Equipment

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Ericsson's headquarters in Sweden. Ericsson

Dutch telecoms giant KPN confirms it will utilise equipment from Sweden’s Ericsson for its core 5G network in the Netherlands

Dutch telecom KPN has opted to use 5G equipment from Sweden’s Ericsson, after it had excluded Huawei equipment.

KPN confirmed on Thursday that it had opted for Ericsson to build core elements of its new 5G mobile network.

According to Reuters, KPN had already decided last year not to use equipment from China’s Huawei. Indeed, KPN became one of the first European operator to rule out Huawei when in April 2019 it reportedly said it would select a Western supplier to build its core 5G mobile network.

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Dutch decision

KPN has now officially confirmed this decision, after it announced on Thursday that while it has a multi-vendor policy, for the implementation of the new mobile core-network for 5G, KPN will collaborate with Ericsson.

No financial terms of the deal were revealed, but it seems that first tests have been completed successfully.

According to KPN, data sessions and conversations were held between multiple locations and autonomous vehicles have been connected to the new network.

Before the end of the year, a start will be made with the technical implementation, and then the “current mobile core-network will be phased out gradually.”

“With our new mobile core network, we are ready for the data flows of the future, real-time communication and massive IoT,” said Joost Farwerck, CEO and chairman. “This will open up new digital solutions for our customers and for Dutch society at large.

“For the renewal of this part of our mobile network we use the latest network technologies that the market has to offer through technology partner Ericsson,” said Farwerck.

KPN had begun deploying its 5G network in the Netherlands since July this year.

European troubles

The KPN decision was not a surprise for Huawei, but it highlights the difficulties the Chinese vendor is currently facing in Europe.

Last week mobile operators Orange and Proximus in Belgium selected Nokia to help build 5G networks, after they dropped Huawei.

That decision by Belgian operators to drop Huawei was noteworthy as the Belgian capital Brussels is home to the European Union’s executive body and parliament, which had concerned US intelligence agencies.

And there been other setbacks for Huawei as well.

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July ordered all Huawei equipment to be purged completely from Britain’s 5G network by 2027.

Canada has also ‘unofficially’ excluded Huawei from 5G networks, by delaying a decision long enough to force local operators to exclude equipment from the vendor.

Germany last month announced it was aiming for tougher oversight of Huawei, but stopped short of an outright ban, as part of its strategy to handle ‘high risk vendors’.

Germany’s decision was opposed by local operators, and instead of an opting for an outright ban on Huawei, some experts feel that Germany is effectively going to strangle Huawei in red tape.

France meanwhile is reportedly considering informally excluding the Chinese vendor.

It comes after one of France’s largest mobile operators, Bouygues Telecom, confirmed in August it would remove 3,000 Huawei mobile antennas by 2028.

In July major Portuguese telcos (NOS, Altice and Vodafone) said they would not use Huawei kit for their 5G networks.

This was despite the fact that Portugal’s government had issued no official guidance on the matter and had not banned 5G equipment from the Chinese networking giant.

Huawei has also been sidelined in Norway, after Telenor confirmed last December that it has picked Sweden’s Ericsson as the key technology provider for its 5G network in Norway.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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