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12 April 2018 - Innovation

KPN is partnering with customers and tech firms to explore the value of 5G

Together with customers and tech partners, telecom and IT service provider KPN will launch four different 5G field labs in the course of 2018 to explore the value of 5G applications. From testing smart antennas in urban areas to studying connectivity of drones for precision agriculture, virtual reality in industry and self-propelled vehicles. Thanks to 5G technology, these types of applications will become a reality in the Amsterdam Zuidoost district, on a farm in Drenthe, in the Port of Rotterdam and on motorways near Helmond.

“Where 4G connects people, 5G will connect all of society. It is therefore crucial that we explore, with customers and tech partners, how 5G can optimize business processes and improve customer experience,” says Jacob Groote, Director of Product Management for the Corporate Market at KPN. “We will also investigate how we can use this new network technology in combination with developments such as artificial intelligence, drones and virtual reality for numerous smart applications.”

Unlike 4G, 5G is expected to become an ecosystem that will benefit many industries, sectors and areas. In addition to a higher speed, 5G explicitly focuses on flexibility in the network to support very short response times and greater reliability. This makes a wide range of new applications possible for customers and industries. KPN will gradually prepare the 4G network for the arrival of 5G and will this year launch four different field labs for 5G applications in urban areas, agriculture, transport & logistics and the automotive sector.

5G applications in urban areas
In cooperation with the City of Amsterdam, Amsterdam ArenA and network provider Nokia, KPN is going to test various 5G applications in Amsterdam's Zuidoost district. In these tests, new antenna technologies (Massive MIMO) will be used to provide extreme capacity in busy areas.

Alderman Udo Kock (Innovation) of the City of Amsterdam: “Amsterdam will be able to develop crowd management and an improved fan experience for Amsterdam ArenA and the surrounding area thanks to 5G technology. This will make visits to the stadium more attractive for all guests. Moreover, 5G will make it possible to develop various applications in the field of artificial intelligence and virtual reality in Amsterdam Zuidoost, thus increasing the supply for residents and visitors.”

Henk van Raan, Chief Innovation Officer of the ArenA: “We are pleased with this development. Our ambition to give visitors to the stadium an incredible experience is now a step closer. With EURO2020 and our stadium as a bidding venue in mind, we want to use innovations to manage visitor flows to and from the stadium and to minimize the pressure on the city and its facilities. It is also a logical step and a precondition for the development of the Amsterdam Zuidoost area.”

5G applications in agriculture
In Drenthe, KPN will partner with the Province, Wageningen University and network provider ZTE to test precision agriculture based on drones connected to the mobile network. Preparations for the tests, which will take place at a trial farm in Valthermond, will be continued in the coming months. KPN itself will also experiment in Drenthe with mobile communication based on millimeter waves. This could potentially enable speeds in excess of one gigabyte per second.

Member of the Executive Council of the Province of Drenthe, Henk Jumelet (CDA): “In Valthermond, techniques are being devised and applied in agricultural practice. Together with our partners, we have a unique mix of business, government and education at our disposal. With 5G, we will be adding another element to this and farmers will soon be able to analyze and respond to real-time data.”

5G applications in transport and logistics
In association with network supplier Huawei, KPN will investigate network slicing in the Port of Rotterdam. In network slicing, specific services are completely isolated from other mobile traffic in a virtual mobile network. This is important for certain business-critical applications because it guarantees the quality of these services (ultra-reliability). KPN also wants to study the possibility of using virtual reality for industrial applications in the Port of Rotterdam.

5G applications for automotive applications
KPN, as part of the European project Concorda, will test the latest technologies in mobile networks for automotive purposes on the A270 motorway near Helmond and on the A58 motorway between Eindhoven and Tilburg. Consider, for instance, the testing of very short reaction times (ultra-low latency) that enable cars to communicate in real time with other cars or, for example, traffic lights and matrix signs.

In addition to the four industrial pilots, KPN has for some time been affiliated with 5Groningen, an industry-wide testing ground in North Groningen.

Importance of 3.5 GHz for successful introduction of 5G in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a trailblazer in Europe when it comes to the quality and speed of mobile networks. This position has contributed significantly to the economic success of the Netherlands. To maintain that position, it is essential that the requisite 3.5 GHz frequency can be used in these test environments. The availability of this frequency is crucial for successfully testing 5G applications and introducing 5G in the Netherlands. KPN seeks to actively contribute to a suitable solution for this problem.