Following its announcement last April, KPN has moved ahead with plans to remove Huawei equipment from its core network.
The Dutch incumbent revealed on Thursday that it recently signed a preliminary agreement with Ericsson to deploy a new 5G core. The first tests – involving voice and data sessions between multiple locations and autonomous vehicles – have been carried out, and technical implementation is on course to begin before the end of the year.
“With our new mobile core network, we are ready for the data flows of the future, real-time communication and massive IoT. This will open up new digital solutions for our customers and for Dutch society at large,” said KPN chairman and CEO Joost Farwerck, in a statement.
In a separate statement, Ericsson said it is a five-year deal that covers the deployment of its cloud-native, dual-mode core, meaning KPN will be able to support both non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) 5G.
Ericsson will also provide dual-mode 5G core software, as well as support services including systems integration and third-line tech support.
“We will work closely with KPN to ensure that consumers and enterprises in the Netherlands can benefit from the emerging opportunities of 5G as it embraces digitalisation,” said Arun Bansal, president of Ericsson’s Europe and Latin America ops. “Ericsson’s cloud-native dual-mode 5G core provides the cutting-edge, container-based, microservice architecture that will help KPN to both develop new business models as well as move onto the next level of network operational efficiency.”
KPN was quick out the gate when it came to blocking Huawei from its core network on national security grounds. Huawei of course maintains that its products don’t include any backdoors to Beijing, and while KPN did sign a 5G RAN deal with the Chinese kit maker, it made it clear it would remove Huawei equipment from its core, and go with a Western supplier instead.
“By partnering with Ericsson on the latest technologies, Gigabit data rates, real-time communication and massive IoT are becoming reality,” Babak Fouladi, KPN’s chief technology and digital officer. “This will enable new functionalities and capabilities for our customers and society and confirms KPN is truly delivering on its promise to be the network of the Netherlands.”