Dutch operator KPN announced the opening of four test labs with partners to work on 5G development based on 3GPP standards. These are the Dutch operator’s first major announcements on 5G. The trial locations are the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam, a farm in the northern town of Valthermond (Drenthe), the port of Rotterdam, and two motorway stretches in the south of the country.
The tests at the Amsterdam arena will include massive MIMO antennas from RAN supplier Nokia. These are expected to help improve the mobile internet experience for large crowds of people during events. KPN plans to use existing spectrum to develop the technique on the LTE network, in preparation for 5G.
At the Valthermond farm, KPN is working with ZTE, the provincial government and Wageningen University to test sensors and applications for the agricultural sector. The open area will allow the operator to employ mmWave spectrum using an experimental permit from the Telecom Agency.
Huawei is participating in the Rotterdam trial, which will focus on network slicing. This allows specific services to have their own virtual network, separate from other mobile traffic in order to protect critical data and processes. Network slicing over 5G offers an alternative to private LTE networks.
Finally, the trial on the A270 motorway near Helmond and A58 between Eindhoven and Tilburg will see KPN participate in the EU R&D project Concordia for autonomous vehicles. Low latency will be especially important in realizing the self-driving technology. Helmond is a hub for automotive suppliers.
KPN also recently extended its partnership with the 5Groningen project in the north of the country, in which Vodafone, Ericsson and Huawei also participate.