Dutch telecom giant KPN has claimed a forthcoming partnership with the controversial Chinese company Huawei for the construction of its 5G network. KPN has signed a preliminary agreement with Huawei to initiate preparations on updating the mobile radio and antenna network, which is nevertheless subject to change complying with future Dutch government policy.
Huawei is ‘controversial’ in this context because it is thought by the western countries to be too close to the Chinese government. This partnership received a great deal of criticism from Dutch Parliament Members and the US ambassador to the Netherlands. A majority of the House of Representatives recently said that Huawei should be excluded from the construction of the Dutch 5G network which is such a crucial infrastructure.
Dick Schoof, head of intelligence service AIVD, warned that China could ‘influence, stop or know exactly what happens within the Netherlands’ by carrying out the 5G construction in the Netherlands. The Unites States is particularly concerned that Chinese companies will gain a dominant position of the 5G market in Europe.
Under such pressure, KPN said on last Friday (26th Apr.) that it intends to select a western company to work on the critical core of its 5G rollout. This approach seems more like a compromise between the economic interests brought by Huawei and the pressure from the public concerning national security. Nevertheless, it has come to the public attention that the Dutch government is currently looking for a new strategy addressing economic interests and opportunities brought by China and is due to publish its approach next month.