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2013 Belgium - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts

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Last updated: 8 May 2013 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 89

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Belgium’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the mobile, internet, 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:

Liberty Global increases stake in Telenet; regulator undergoes structural changes to meet strategic vision; Movistar adds VoD to quintuple-play bundle; Belgacom extends TV Everywhere service nationally; courts uphold Open Cable regulation for resale of analogue TV services, access to digital TV and the resale of broadband access; BASE launches ‘Snow’ bundled service brand; Liberty Global bids for remaining stake in Telenet; Numéricable sells Belgian unit; regulators approve cable wholesale offers; Belgacom invests in VDSL2 vectoring technology to provide 50Mb/s services; VOO upgrades broadband offering to 100Mb/s; Telenet and Ziggo begin work on ‘Homespot’ WiFi system; networks on track to reach national 30Mb/s connectivity by 2020; Telenet Tecteo Bidco awarded fourth 20-year 3G licence; Mobistar invests €36 million to replace 2G equipment with LTE kit; regulator sets terms for 2013 800MHz 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, launches DC-HSPA+ service; non-SMS mobile revenue growth outstripping SMS revenue; regulator’s market data update; telcos’ financial and operating data to Q1 2013; market developments to May 2013.

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 2013 (12th Edition)

Executive Summary

Belgacom’s VDSL vectoring complementing slow FttH roll out

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 sectors of one of Europe’s smaller yet key markets, having close ties to telcos operating in larger neighbouring countries. The report includes regulator’s market data update, telcos’ financial and operating data to Q1 2013, market developments to May 2013.

Telecom market overview

The total turnover of the Belgian telecom market has risen slowly in recent years largely as a result of a better performing broadcasting sector, which has offset declining revenue from the mobile and fixed-voice sectors. Effective competition between Belgacom and the cablecos has also resulted in cheaper offerings for bundled services. Despite the ongoing economic difficulties and 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. Further investment in 2013 and 2014 will be supported by anticipated spectrum auctions, as well as ongoing upgrades to mobile and fixed-line networks as operators seek to maintain satisfy customer demand for bandwidth and new services. Fixed telephony still forms more than half of the total, though its market share is declining steadily.

Broadband market

The government has promoted its SuperFastBelgium scheme based on a national FttH network, though developments remain slow. Open access to Belgacom’s fibre network would be complemented by measures to ensure that all new-build premises would be provisioned with ducts to enable fibre connections, while the right by all operators to install ducts above ground aims to reduce engineering costs by up to 80%. Belgacom has pursued a VDSL vectoring strategy to complement its limited FttH roll out, providing at least 50Mb/s services.

Key telecom parameters – 2010; 2013

Sector

2010

2013 (e)

Subscribers by sector (million):

Fixed broadband subscribers

3.36

4.11

Mobile broadband

1.30

2.15

Mobile phone

12.7

13.38

Fixed-line telephony

4.64

4.45

Penetration by sector:

Fixed broadband

31%

47%

Mobile

118%

127%

Fixed-line

38%

36%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Market Highlights

  • Access to Belgium’s cable networks will enable operators to expand their bundled services, though there remains opposition from cablecos to opening up their networks to third parties.
  • Mobistar has embarked on its ‘SuperMobile 2013-2015’ investment programme, investing an additional €150 million to accelerate the roll-out of its LTE network.
  • In 2012 BASE launched its ‘Snow’ digital TV service, using KPN’s VDSL network. It includes fixed-line, TV and telephony services to complement existing bundled offerings.
  • In early 2013 KPN rebranded all of its Belgium operations under the BASE moniker.
  • Liberty Global in late 2012 made a US$2.5 billion bid to buy additional shares in Telenet: LG increased its stake to about 58% of Telenet shares.
  • Belgacom and its long-term hardware provider Alcatel-Lucent have developed VDSL2 vectoring technology, with commercial expansion planned through 2013.
  • Mobile broadband penetration in Belgium was about 3.5% in early 2009 and 17% by early 2013: this remains low in comparison with the EU average but should increase quickly to 2014 in the wake of anticipated spectrum auctions and operator upgrades to networks.
  • Net retail revenue from mobile data services continues to grow rapidly, offsetting declines from voice services. The share of mobile data to overall mobile revenue is also rising.

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.

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