KPN chief technology and digital officer Babak Fouladi (pictured) tempered industry excitement over open RAN technology, stating it was not yet ready for the big time, though he noted it was moving in the right direction and would likely be gradually introduced.

In an interview with Mobile World Live, the executive noted conceptually the technology was “exactly where we want the industry to go” and was encouraged by the tests taking place across globe, but added it would “not be round the corner tomorrow”.

He added the Dutch operator wanted to be part of the much-discussed evolution, pointing to the introduction of other software defined elements into networks and the increased role of virtualisation in its IT architecture.

The company is currently in the process of overhauling its infrastructure and promoting digital moves to its business customer base as part of a new strategy unveiled in November 2020.

KPN’s focuses also include accelerating rollout of high-bandwidth 5G and fibre, promotion of 5G enterprise use cases deemed high growth, network modernisation programmes and a renewed sustainability drive.

Fouladi noted environmental initiatives as one of the key pillars of its strategy going forward, with the business including these goals alongside its key financial metrics.

Among these is achieving nearly 100 per cent “circularity” for its entire business, an outlook which includes recycling and reusing raw materials and legacy equipment as it is replaced in the network.

He noted the goal was “a very big thing for technology organisations to do, because you get a lot of new equipment and replace a lot of old equipment,” adding this also influences its decision on suppliers.

“You can’t buy stuff that is not reusable,” he explained. “We have had to make conscious decisions on things like the fibre we use and the bare metals we use.”