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Dutch telecom-KPN will not use Huawei for core 5G network

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch telecom firm Royal KPN NV said on Friday it would select a Western supplier to build its core 5G mobile network, making it one of the first European operators to make clear it would not get chinese Huawei for such work.

FILE PHOTO: KPN-logo is seen on the headquarters in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

The United States has tried to discourage its allies from the use of equipment from Huawei because of concerns that it could eventually be used for the Chinese government spying. Huawei says that these concerns are unfounded and the US policy is driven by economic interests.

The Hague-based KPN, the largest Dutch telecom company, said its decision taking into account the changing assessment on the protection of vital infrastructure and the impact this may have on future Dutch policy.”

The Dutch government has not taken a decision on the issue.

KPN, which also reported on Friday a little worse than expected first quarter core profit of 563 million euros ($627 million), said: “it will still be using equipment from Huawei, in some capacity.

In addition, the company announced a preliminary agreement with Huawei to upgrade existing mobile telecommunications gear to make it safer. Huawei is a major supplier of KPN in the past decade.

The Dutch government set up a task force with KPN and other large companies in the Netherlands this month to analyze the “vulnerability of 5G telecommunications networks to abuse by providers of technology …, and the measures that are needed to manage risks.”

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KPN said it would use equipment from Huawei, which it described as a world leader in the radio and the antenna technology to improve the safety on the current network.

“This agreement can be modified or reversed to align on the future Dutch policy of the government,” it added.

Sources told Reuters on Wednesday that the british National Security Council (NSC) had decided to bar Huawei from major parts of the country the 5G network and limiting the access to non-core activities.

Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Edmund Blair

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