Telco says it is working with Chinese firm in RAN, but will select a Western vendor for ‘more sensitive’ core

KPN will not use Huawei, or indeed any Chinese equipment maker, to supply its 5G mobile core network, on security grounds.

The Netherlands-based telco said it is adopting a multi-vendor approach for 5G and with Huawei already selected for the radio and antenna network, "KPN plans to select a Western vendor for the construction of the new mobile core network for 5G," it announced on Friday.

But there is more to it than a mere reluctance to be tied into a single supplier.

KPN noted that the core "is more sensitive" from a security point of view and highlighted "the evolving assessment on the protection of vital infrastructure and the influence this may have on future Dutch policy."

Indeed, it said it has signed a preliminary agreement to start work with Huawei on the radio network, talking up the Chinese firm’s credentials in that area, but divulged that "this preliminary agreement can be adjusted or reversed to align it with future Dutch government policy."

KPN said it will tighten its security policy in the fixed network as well as mobile, where it will also adopt a multi-vendor strategy. It recently announced it is working with Nokia as a fixed network supplier.