KPN won’t use Huawei for 5G core but will use its radios

Dutch carrier KPN has decided it will forgo Huawei products for building its 5G network core, but is not banning the supplier from its 5G network entirely. The company said it will choose a Western vendor for core products, but plans to still use Huawei’s 5G radios.


The decision follows media reports last week based on leaked documents that seemed to show that U.K. prime minister Theresa May has decided to ban Huawei from supplying gear for core components of 5G networks in the U.K. However, Huawei reportedly would still be allowed to supply non-core products to carriers building out 5G networks.


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Nations across the globe are debating whether to ban Huawei from 5G network build outs amid security concerns that Huawei may pose. The U.S. government has led the charge against Huawei, lobbying its allies to ban the equipment maker in light of concerns that Huawei could allow the Chinese government backdoor access to critical infrastructure.


But, several European countries have pushed back against the U.S.’s claims, and have refused to ban the company outright. Germany’s telecom regulatory body, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), decided earlier this year to increase its security requirements for network equipment suppliers instead.


KPN similarly said it had decided to further tighten its security policy for its fixed and mobile network suppliers.


For many operators across Europe, banning Huawei, which is one of the world’s largest suppliers of network equipment, will cause significant delays in deploying 5G networks, as most operators already had begun 5G trials with Huawei before the security concerns had gained momentum.


KPN may face similar delays. The carrier has used Huawei extensively in its 4G networks. The Dutch government hasn’t yet made an official determination on whether or not to ban Huawei, but KPN said its agreement with Huawei “can be adjusted or reversed to align it with future Dutch government policy,” according to a statement.


KPN said it is implementing a multi-vendor policy for its 5G network, and has selected Nokia to supply equipment for its fixed wireless offerings.