Dutch operator KPN signed-up with Ericsson for its 5G core network, replacing Huawei, as the operator eyes energy efficiency and the ability to better serve emerging sectors such as autonomous driving.
KPN noted installation of its new core would begin later this year, with legacy equipment to be gradually phased out. Tests of the new core have already been completed, following the signing of an earlier preliminary agreement.
The operator began offering non-standalone 5G to consumers in July and has conducted a number of high-profile trial deployments in the industrial sector, including a project with fuel giant Royal Dutch Shell.
Its new core will open the opportunity to deploy network slicing and move towards full standalone 5G, KPN added.
In a statement, Ericsson said the deal built on a 100-year history between the two organisations. It comprises delivery of “dual-mode 5G core software with full support services, including an accompanying systems integration programme with third-line support services”.
The agreement lasts for five years: financial terms were not disclosed.
KPN’s decision on its core vendor follows guarantees made in 2019 it would use a “western supplier” for the network.
At the time, it also signed-up with under-fire Huawei for RAN equipment, though the agreement was contingent on the vendor not being banned by authorities.