2012 Belgium - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Belgium’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the mobile, broadband, digital TV and converging media sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Major players, revenues, subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
  • Mobile voice and data markets;
  • Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless);
  • Convergence and digital media;
  • 3G subscriber and mobile ARPU forecasts to 2015;
  • Broadband market forecasts for selective years to 2020.

Key developments:

Telenet Tecteo Bidco awarded fourth 20-year 3G licence; regulator concludes 2.6GHz auction; Telenet extends MVNO agreement with Mobistar to 2017; mobile service revenue continues to fall; Proximus trials LTE in the 1.8GHz band; BASE contracts Ericsson for backhaul upgrade; non-SMS mobile revenue growth outstripping SMS revenue; regulators approve cable wholesale offers to come into effect by late 2012; government’s Start2Surf project furnishes more than 30,000 Belgians with computers and internet access; Belgacom invests in VDSL2 vectoring technology to provide at least 50Mb/s; VOO upgrades broadband offering to 100Mb/s; Telenet and Ziggo begin work on ‘Homespot’ WiFi system; Numéricable sells Belgium unit; regulator pursues cable network access reform; networks on track to reach national 30Mb/s connectivity by 2020; Movistar adds VoD to quintuple-play bundle; regulator proposes opening cable networks to competitors; Belgacom launches TV Everywhere service; CSA consults on Open Cable regulation for resale of analogue TV services, access to digital TV and the resale of broadband access; Norkring België to launch DTT using DVB-T2 standard in early 2013; Numéricable sells Belgian unit; regulator undergoes structural changes to meet strategic vision to 2013; regulator’s November 2011 market data update; telco financial and operating data to Q1 2012; market developments into 2012.

Companies covered in this report include:

Proximus, Mobistar, BASE, Telenet, Belgacom, UPC Belgium, COLT, Scarlet, Tele2, Versatel, Interkabel.

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- May 2012 (11th Edition)

Executive Summary

Cableco competition stimulating Belgacom to invest in FttH

BuddeComm’s half-yearly publication, Belgium - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts, provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecoms and digital media markets in one of Europe’s central and more complex telecom markets. The report includes the regulator’s November 2011 market data update, telco financial and operating data to Q1 2012 and market developments into 2012.

Certain sectors of Belgium’s telecom market, such as broadcasting, are influenced by its larger neighbours France and the Netherlands. The country’s population is split between two main language groups, Flemish and Walloon, with an additional strong German influence. This fragmentation affects regulatory policies. Being the base for several administrative centres of the European Union, Belgium has attracted considerable investment from multinationals, while the significant transient population has also contributed to the high mobile penetration.

Market revenue

The total turnover of the Belgian telecom sector has risen steadily in recent years, despite the economic difficulties which have beset consumers and operators alike since late 2008. Revenue from the fixed market continues to fall slightly, while that from mobile markets has recovered slightly on the back of greater spend on mobile broadband services. This pattern is expected to continue further into 2013 and 2014 though consumer confidence may be slow to return and economic conditions may improve only marginally in the short term. Despite liquidity issues, investment in telecom networks – partly encouraged by government stimulus funds – has grown year-on-year. Alternative operators have invested the largest proportion of the total.

Broadband developments

The broadband sector will be a key prop for overall telecom market growth during the next few years, largely from network upgrades undertaken by Belgacom and the cablecos. The proportion of broadband subscribers with data rates above 10Mb/s is one of the highest in the EU. The scale of the cablecos active in their regional areas has prompted Belgacom to respond with greater endeavour in rolling out FttH/C. The regulator has also promoted FttH, which forms a cornerstone of the government’s Digital Action Plan 2010-2015.

Mobile developments

The 2011 auction of spectrum in the 2.6GHz band – with licences made available from mid-2012 – will help operators reach national broadband goals set by the European Digital Agenda 2020. The conditions of the licenses – for 15 years with the potential for five-year extension, and with no rollout or coverage requirements – were aimed at making it easier for the commercial launch of LTE. Belgium has thus far been a laggard in Europe for 4G, though trials have been undertaken since 2010.

Key telecom parameters – 2010; 2012

Sector

2010

2012 (e)

Subscribers to telecoms services (million):

Fixed-broadband

3.36

4.05

Fixed-line telephony

4.64

4.52

Mobile telephony

12.64

12.80

Mobile-broadband

1.30

1.95

Subscriber penetration by sector:

Fixed-broadband

31.0%

35.1%

Fixed-line telephony

38%

34%

Mobile SIM

117%

119%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Market highlights:

  • Norkring België, which launched regional DTTV services at the end of 2011, planned to upgrade its network to the DVB-T2 standard from the first quarter of 2013. This will be the catalyst for Telenet to launch its own services using this standard.
  • The auction for spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band will enable licensees to expand their LTE commercial services, expected to be launched later in 2012. This will bolster the country's broadband availability is less densely populated areas in coming years.
  • Telenet in early 2012 began adding half a million extra free WiFi locations for customers by turning wireless modems at subscribers’ homes into ‘Homespots’, similar to the concept developed by FON.
  • More than a third of broadband subscribers have data speeds of 10Mb/s or higher – one of the highest proportions in the EU – while a fifth have a speed equal to or above 30Mb/s: in this respect Belgium is among the leaders in the EU for very-high speed lines.
  • Fibre networks remain slow to develop outside the main cities, where it is targeted at multi-tenanted buildings. Regulatory measures obliging Belgacom to provide competitors access to its fibre network, as well as favourable conditions on duct access and the installation of ducts above ground, will reduce engineering costs by up to 80% and help the country catch up with developments in the leading European markets.

This report is essential reading for those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the telecom sector in Belgium. It provides further information on:

  • Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
  • The impact of the global economic crisis;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile data market developments in coming years in light of spectrum auctions and new license awards;
  • 3G developments, regulatory issues and technologies including HSPA and LTE;
  • Broadband migration to an FttH architecture;
  • Historical and current subscriber statistics and forecasts;
  • 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.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key Statistics
  • 2. Telecommunications Market
    • 2.1 Overview of Belgium’s telecom market
  • 3. Regulatory Environment
    • 3.1 History
      • 3.1.1 EU regulatory framework
      • 3.1.2 Revised NFR
    • 3.2 Regulatory authority
      • 3.2.1 Belgian Institute for Posts and Telecommunications (BIPT)
    • 3.3 Telecom sector liberalisation in Belgium
      • 3.3.1 Privatisation of Belgacom
      • 3.3.2 Interconnect
      • 3.3.3 Access
      • 3.3.4 Number Portability (NP)
      • 3.3.5 Carrier PreSelection (CPS)
      • 3.3.6 Wholesale Line Rental (WLR)
  • 4. Fixed Network Operators in Belgium
    • 4.1 Overview of operators
    • 4.2 Belgacom
    • 4.3 COLT Telecom NV
    • 4.4 Mobistar
    • 4.5 Scarlet (formerly KPN Belgium)
    • 4.6 Tele2 Belgium
    • 4.7 Telenet
  • 5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
    • 5.1 National telecom network
    • 5.2 Next Generation Network (NGN)
    • 5.3 International infrastructure
  • 6. Broadband Market
    • 6.1 Overview
      • 6.1.1 Broadband statistics
    • 6.2 Cable modems
      • 6.2.1 Telenet
      • 6.2.2 Interkabel
    • 6.3 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
      • 6.3.1 Belgacom’s DSL services
      • 6.3.2 Versatel/Tele2 Belgium
      • 6.3.3 Mobistar
    • 6.4 Other DSL developments
      • 6.4.1 SDSL
      • 6.4.2 VDSL
      • 6.4.3 G.SHDSL
    • 6.5 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH) networks
      • 6.5.1 Government support
      • 6.5.2 Regulating fibre
      • 6.5.3 Digital Metropolis Antwerp
      • 6.5.4 Belgacom
    • 6.6 Broadband Powerline (BPL)
    • 6.7 Wireless broadband
      • 6.7.1 Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)
      • 6.7.2 WLAN/WiFi
      • 6.7.3 WiMAX
    • 6.8 Mobile broadband
  • 7. Digital Media
    • 7.1 Key general trends
    • 7.2 Business models
      • 7.2.1 Bundled services
    • 7.3 Regulatory issues
    • 7.4 Digital TV (DTV)
      • 7.4.1 Broadband TV (IPTV)
      • 7.4.2 VoIP
      • 7.4.3 Video-on-Demand (VoD)
      • 7.4.4 Cable TV
      • 7.4.5 Satellite TV
      • 7.4.6 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
      • 7.4.7 Free-to-Air (FTA) TV
      • 7.4.8 Interactive TV (iDTV)
  • 8. Mobile Communications
    • 8.1 Overview of Belgium’s mobile market
      • 8.1.1 Mobile statistics
      • 8.1.2 Operator market shares
    • 8.2 Regulatory issues
      • 8.2.1 Spectrum regulations and spectrum auctions
      • 8.2.2 Roaming
      • 8.2.3 Mobile termination rates (MTRs)
      • 8.2.4 Number portability (NP)
    • 8.3 Mobile technologies
      • 8.3.1 Digital
      • 8.3.2 Third Generation (3G) mobile
    • 8.4 Major mobile operators
      • 8.4.1 Proximus
      • 8.4.2 Mobistar
      • 8.4.3 BASE
      • 8.4.4 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
    • 8.5 Mobile voice services
      • 8.5.1 Prepaid cards
    • 8.6 Mobile Messaging
      • 8.6.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 8.6.2 SMS over fixed networks
      • 8.6.3 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
    • 8.7 Mobile data services
      • 8.7.1 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • 8.7.2 Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
      • 8.7.3 High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA)
      • 8.7.4 High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA)
      • 8.7.5 Long-term evolution (LTE)
      • 8.7.6 Mobile TV
    • 8.8 Mobile applications
      • 8.8.1 Location-based services
  • 9. Forecasts
    • 9.1 Forecast – broadband subscribers – 2010-2012; 2020
      • 9.1.1 Scenario 1 – higher broadband subscriber growth
      • 9.1.2 Scenario 2 – lower broadband subscriber growth
    • 9.2 Forecast – UMTS subscribers 2006-2012; 2015
    • 9.3 Forecast – mobile ARPU 2005-2010; 2015
    • 9.4 Notes on scenario forecasts
  • 10. Glossary of Abbreviations
  • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2011 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telecom revenue and investment statistics – 2012 (e)
  • Table 3 – Telephone network statistics – 2012 (e)
  • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2013 (e)
  • Table 5 – Broadband statistics – 2012 (e)
  • Table 6 – Mobile statistics – 2012 (e)
  • Table 7 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 8 – Telecom market investment: fixed and mobile by sector – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 9 – Telecom market investment (regulator data) – 2007 - 2010
  • Table 10 – Telecom market revenue by sector – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 11 – Telecom market revenue (not inc. TV) – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 12 – Unbundled loops and access lines – 2004 - 2009
  • Table 13 – BRUO and BROBA monthly access fees – 2011
  • Table 14 – Fixed numbers ported (historical) – 2000 - 2005
  • Table 15 – Carrier preselect numbers and annual change – 2000 - 2010
  • Table 16 – Fixed-line telephony revenue – 2002 - 2013
  • Table 17 – Fixed-line traffic by type – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 18 – Belgacom (CBU) access channels – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 19 – Belgacom residential traffic – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 20 – Belgacom financial data – 2003 - 2012
  • Table 21 – Belgacom revenue by sector – 2004 - 2012
  • Table 22 – Belgacom revenue by operating division – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 23 – Belgacom fixed-line services revenue by sector (CBU) – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 24 – Belgacom monthly ARPU by sector (CBU) – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 25 – Mobistar financial data by sector – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 26 – Mobistar subscribers by sector – 2008 - 2012
  • Table 27 – Telenet revenue by sector – 2004 - 2012
  • Table 28 – Telenet subscribers by sector – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 29 – Telenet financial data – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 30 – Telenet subscriber monthly ARPU – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 31 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2012
  • Table 32 – Fixed lines by type – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 33 – Altnet fixed lines – 2000 - 2012
  • Table 34 – Broadband lines by data rate – 2010
  • Table 35 – Internet users and penetration rate – 1995 - 2012
  • Table 36 – Broadband fixed-line subscribers by technology – 2000 - 2012
  • Table 37 – Broadband penetration – 2000 - 2012
  • Table 38 – Broadband market share by operator – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 39 – Cable modem subscribers – 2000 - 2012
  • Table 40 – Telenet broadband subscribers – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 41 – Telenet financial data – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 42 – ADSL subscribers – 2000 - 2012
  • Table 43 – Belgacom ADSL subscribers – 2000 - 2012
  • Table 44 – Mobistar broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2012
  • Table 45 – WLL broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 46 – Mobile broadband subscribers by technology – 2008 - 2012
  • Table 47 – Bundled services by type – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 48 – Telenet triple-play subscribers – 2002 - 2012
  • Table 49 – Belgacom TV subscribers – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 50 – Belgacom annualised IPTV ARPU, revenue – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 51 – VoIP connections – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 52 – Cable TV subscribers and penetration rate – 1995 – 2011; 2015
  • Table 53 – Telenet cable TV subscribers by sector – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 54 – Telenet subscriber annualised monthly ARPU – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 55 – Satellite TV subscribers – 1995 - 2011; 2015
  • Table 56 – Mobile service revenue – 2004 - 2012
  • Table 57 – Mobile revenue by type – 2001 - 2012
  • Table 58 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – Mar 2012
  • Table 59 – Mobile/SIM card subscribers and teledensity – 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2012
  • Table 60 – Active mobile/SIM card subscribers and teledensity – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 61 – Mobile traffic – 2005 - 2013
  • Table 62 – Market share by operator – 2002 - 2011
  • Table 63 – 2.6GHz auction results – 2011
  • Table 64 – European roaming charges – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 65 – Roaming revenue – 2001 - 2012
  • Table 66 – Mobile termination tariffs – 2006 - 2008
  • Table 67 – Proposed mobile termination tariffs – 2009 - 2013
  • Table 68 – Mobile termination revenue – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 69 – Annual mobile numbers ported (historic) – 2002 - 2005; 2008
  • Table 70 – Proximus revenue by sector (CBU) – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 71 – Proximus total subscribers – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 72 – Proximus CBU subscribers by type – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 73 – Proximus annualised ARPU (CBU) by sector – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 74 – Mobistar subscribers – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 75 – Mobistar data ARPU as proportion total mobile ARPU – 2007 - 2011
  • Table 76 – Mobistar mobile revenue – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 77 – Mobistar annualised ARPU – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 78 – BASE mobile revenue – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 79 – BASE subscribers – 2004 - 2012
  • Table 80 – BASE annualised ARPU – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 81 – Telenet mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 82 – MVNO subscribers and market share – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 83 – MVNO mobile traffic and market share – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 84 – Mobile voice service revenue – 2001 - 2012
  • Table 85 – Proportion of prepaid subscribers by operator – 2004 - 2010
  • Table 86 – Prepaid and contract subscribers – 2001 - 2012
  • Table 87 – Proximus SMS messages (CBU) – 2008 - 2012
  • Table 88 – SMS traffic – 2001 - 2012
  • Table 89 – Forecast broadband subscribers – higher market growth scenario – 2010 - 2012; 2020
  • Table 90 – Forecast broadband penetration – higher market growth scenario – 2007 - 2012; 2020
  • Table 91 – Forecast broadband subscribers – lower market growth scenario – 2010 - 2012; 2020
  • Table 92 – Forecast broadband penetration – lower market growth scenario – 2007 - 2012; 2020
  • Table 93 – Forecast UMTS subscribers – 2006 - 2012; 2015
  • Table 94 – Forecast mobile ARPU – 2005 - 2010; 2015
  • Chart 1 – Telecom market revenue by sector – 2006 - 2012
  • Chart 2 – Fixed-line traffic by type – 2005 – 2012
  • Chart 3 – Belgacom residential traffic – 2007 - 2012
  • Chart 4 – Belgacom financial data – 2003 - 2012
  • Chart 5 – Belgacom revenue by sector – 2004 - 2012
  • Chart 6 – Belgacom revenue by operating division – 2007 - 2012
  • Chart 7 – Belgacom fixed-line services revenue by sector (CBU) – 2007 - 2012
  • Chart 8 – Mobistar financial data – 2007 - 2012
  • Chart 9 – Mobistar subscribers by sector – 2008 - 2012
  • Chart 10 – Telenet revenue by sector – 2004 - 2012
  • Chart 11 – Telenet subscribers by sector – 2006 - 2012
  • Chart 12 – Telenet financial data – 2005 - 2012
  • Chart 13 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2002 - 2012
  • Chart 14 – Fixed lines by type – 2006 – 2012
  • Chart 15 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2000 - 2012
  • Chart 16 – Broadband subscribers by technology – 2000 - 2012
  • Chart 17 – Telenet financial data – 2005 - 2012
  • Chart 18 – Mobile broadband subscribers by technology – 2008 - 2012
  • Chart 19 – Bundled services by type – 2007 – 2012
  • Chart 20 – Belgacom annualised ARPU, revenue – 2006 - 2012
  • Chart 21 – Cable TV subscriber statistics and penetration rate – 2000 - 2011; 2015
  • Chart 22 – Telenet cable TV subscribers by sector – 2007 - 2012
  • Chart 23 – Mobile service revenue – 2004 – 2012
  • Chart 24 – Mobile revenue by type – 2001 – 2012
  • Chart 25 – Mobile/SIM card subscribers and teledensity –2002 - 2012
  • Chart 26 – Market share by operator – 2002 - 2011
  • Chart 27 – Proximus revenue by sector (CBU) – 2007 - 2012
  • Chart 28 – Proximus CBU subscribers by type – 2007 - 2012
  • Chart 29 – Proximus annualised ARPU (CBU) by sector – 2007 - 2012
  • Chart 30 – BASE annualised ARPU – 2005 - 2012
  • Chart 31 – Forecast broadband subscribers – higher market growth scenario – 2007 - 2012; 2020
  • Chart 32 – Forecast broadband subscribers – lower market growth scenario – 2007 - 2012; 2020
  • Exhibit 1 – EU – The New Regulatory Framework (NRF)
  • Exhibit 2 – Access and the local loop
  • Exhibit 3 – Number portability defined
  • Exhibit 4 – Key ADSL service providers – 2012
  • Exhibit 5 – WiMAX spectrum licenses – 2001 - 2005
  • Exhibit 6 – Overview of digital media

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