Telecoms agency investigates newspaper claims of Huawei’s KPN systems access

21 Apr 2021

Dutch telecoms agency Agentschap Telecom (AT), under the Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy, has started an investigation concerning newspaper reports by De Volkskrant claiming that Chinese vendor Huawei had ‘unauthorised access’ to KPN’s network systems in the Netherlands in 2010. AT said on its website that its investigation will ‘validate the current measures at KPN in the light of the report’s findings,’ and stated: ‘Telecom networks are vital infrastructure. The security and integrity of telecom networks are therefore of the utmost importance for our society and our economy. A first update of the study is expected in about a month.’

Earlier, Reuters quoted KPN responding to the newspaper by stating that a 2010 Capgemini consultancy report – undertaken to analyse risks – had not established that Huawei had monitored any users or taken data, adding that: ‘Partly on the basis of the risk analysis in question, KPN at the time decided not to outsource full maintenance of its core mobile network.’ The telco also said that no supplier has unauthorised, uncontrolled or unlimited access to its networks and systems, or is capable of eavesdropping on KPN clients.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Huawei is a 2G/3G/4G mobile core network provider for KPN, which also signed an agreement with the Chinese group for 5G radio access network (RAN) construction in April 2019, although opting to select ‘a western supplier’ for its 5G core network due to potential national security concerns, eventually choosing Sweden’s Ericsson to deploy a cloud-native 5G Core in October 2020. KPN also confirmed that it will transition away from Huawei as one of its existing mobile core network suppliers.

Netherlands, Huawei Technologies, KPN