2010 Belgium - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts

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Last updated: 7 Jul 2010 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 82

Publication Overview

This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Belgium’s telecommunications market. The report analyses trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, Internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media including VoIP, VoD and IPTV developments.

 Subjects include:

  • Key statistics;
  • Market and industry overviews;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
  • Mobile voice and data markets;
  • Internet and broadband development;
  • Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
  • Telecom market forecasts for selective years to 2015 or 2020.

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- July 2010 (9th Edition)
Next publication date:- March 2011

Executive Summary

BuddeComm’s annual publication, Belgium - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts, provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications and digital media markets in Belgium.

Belgium’s medium-sized telecom market was stagnant during 2008 and 2009, with marginal revenue growth. This was partly the result of the continuing economic crisis which has affected customer spend, as also the stability of prices over the last years as competition between Belgacom and the cable operators has led to cheaper bundled product offerings. Nevertheless, investments in telecom networks - partly encouraged by government stimulus funds - grew by 4.5% in 2008 year-on-year, and similar growth is expected in 2010 as the main players concentrate on mobile network upgrades and the build-out of fibre infrastructure.

The country’s population is split between two language groups, Flemish and Walloon, which affects regulatory policies as well as the operations of telecom players. Its geographic position has also affected digital TV market development, given the influence of the neighbouring French and Dutch markets. Digital switchover was completed in the northern part of the country in 2008, since when the Flemish government has free digital frequencies for radio and TV broadcasting. Digital switchover the southern part of the country will take place in November 2011.

In Flanders, the broadband market is shared between Belgacom and Telenet, while in Wallonia and Brussels the once fragmented competition has been gradually consolidated. Belgium has not kept up with the top European performers in this market. Belgacom is continuing to roll out its FttC network (aiming to cover more than 70% of households), though the FttH build is marginal and only affects a small number of households. This may change rapidly in coming years as the regulator’s promotion of FttH – a cornerstone of the government’s Digital Action Plan 2010-2015 – comes to fruition. This will be manifested in legislative and administrative interventions regarding the rights of way for competitors to ducts and buildings, as well as measures to complement the fixed-line network with new licences for 3G mobile services in the sub-GHz band.

Belgium – key telecom parameters – 2009; 2011



2011 (e)


Fixed broadband subscribers (million)



Fixed broadband penetration rate



Mobile broadband subscribers (million)



Subscribers to telecoms services:

Fixed-line telephony (million)



SIM cards in service (million)



SIM penetration (population)



(Source: BuddeComm)

 Market highlights

  • By the beginning of 2010 41% of retail broadband lines offered 10Mb/s or higher, and 52% offered speeds between 2Mb/s and 10Mb/s. Data speeds should increase rapidly during coming years as the nation’s fibre infrastructure expands, though the current emphasis on hybrid DSL/FttC networks will initially dampen potential until the regulator’s provisions for supporting FttH networks bear fruit. Prices remain comparatively high despite LLU and effective cross-platform competition.
  • IPTV penetration in Belgium is considerably higher than most other EU countries. Belgacom is one of the three largest IPTV operators in Europe, with its success partly due to its high spending on broadcast rights for football competitions.
  • Belgium’s market for bundled services is maturing, with some 9% of the population subscribing to double-play services but only about 2% to triple play services. This is mainly due to the limited number of providers (Belgacom and the cablecos alone). Only about 5% of the population buy bundled packs that include broadcasting services.
  • Two mobile network operators – Mobistar and Proximus – provide broadcast offerings. Mobistar’s launch of a multi-screen TV service using the TV, PC and mobile platforms shows the commitment of its parent company, France Telecom, which is already active with innovative TV products in a number of its markets.
  • The development of LTE upgrades from both Telenet and Mobistar during 2010 and 2011, with a focus on mobile data rather than voice, will strengthen their position in the crucial mobile data market, given that overall growth in mobile voice services revenue has been affected by price reductions resulting from increased competition and some regulatory measures.

For those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the telecommunications sector in Germany, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:

  • Developments in the digital broadcast market, IPTV and VoD;
  • Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
  • The impact of the global economic crisis;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Internet and broadband development and growth;
  • VoIP, IPTV, VoD, digital TV and DTTV;
  • Historical and current subscriber statistics;
  • Average Revenue per User (ARPU) statistics and forecasts.

 Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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