Belgium - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

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 developments;
  • Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Convergence and Digital Media;
  • Mobile subscriber and ARPU forecasts;
  • Broadband and mobile market forecasts for selective years to 2022.
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and industry issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE, 5G).

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- July 2017 (16th Edition)

Executive Summary

Belgium’s regulatory Strategic Plan to 2019 focussed on fibre broadband

Belgium’s telecom market has long benefited from comprehensive DSL and cable networks, complemented by limited but increasingly prevalent fibre deployments. Though relatively small, the market has attracted investment from some of the region’s major players, including Liberty Global and Orange Group. There have been significant developments in the competitive landscape in recent years, fostered by regulatory measures which require cablecos to allow competitors access to their networks. This has enabled Orange Belgium to become a viable force in the market for bundled services offerings, hitherto dominated by Proximus. Nevertheless, Orange Belgium has seen its influence in the mobile market wane in recent years, principally through having lost two key MVNOs which are now hosted on the network of its main rival BASE, owned by Telenet.

Telenet’s acquisition of BASE in early 2016, and of SFR Belgium in June 2017, has made the telco the second largest in the country, a position bolstered by a strong presence in the TV and broadband sectors.

Broadband penetration has made considerable progress in recent years, largely thanks to regulatory measures to promote wholesale and bitstream access. In the mobile sector LTE availability is nearly universal, while there are ongoing investments in developing applications and services for 5G.

Belgium’s mobile market is served by the three network operators Proximus, Orange Belgium and BASE (owned by Liberty Global’s local unit Telenet) and by a number of MVNOs. Mobile networks have upgraded with HSPA and LTE technologies while Proximus and Telenet have initiated trials to develop services based on 5G. The market continues to see activity, with two new MVNOs licensed in late 2016 and with Lycamobile acquiring Telenet’s MVNO Ortel Mobile in June 2017. With BASE already the dominant host network for MVNO, the switch of Lycamobile from the Orange Belgium to the BASE network meant that BASE now commands about 90% of all wholesale mobile connections.

There is effective competition in Belgium between the DSL and cable platforms, while in recent years government support has also encouraged investment in fibre networks. Telenet, supported by its parent Liberty Global, has invested in developing services based on the new DOCSIS3.1 standard, which is capable of providing data at 1Gb/s and higher. The incumbent telco Proximus (formerly Belgacom) has also engaged in extensive fibre/VDSL and FttP deployments, with which it has promoted a range of bundled services.

Belgium’s market for bundled services has grown on the back of upgraded cable and DSL infrastructure and by a growing concentration among operators to develop fibre networks. The broadcasting sector is characterised by language variations to accommodate the French and Dutch speaking regions. Analogue broadcasts have been switched off nationally, which enabled digital dividend spectrum to be auctioned for mobile broadband services at the end of 2013.

In recent months there has been renewed impetus in the digital media market, particularly following the acquisition of KNP’s BASE subsidiary by Liberty Global’s Telenet division. This has created a multi-play operator providing viable competition to Proximus for bundled service offerings

This report provides data and analysis on key aspects of the Belgian telecom market. It assesses the latest statistics on fixed-network services and also reviews key regulatory issues, noting the status of interconnection, local loop unbundling, number portability and carrier preselection. The telecom infrastructure and major fixed-network operators are also profiled. In addition,  Belgian’s mobile market is discussed and the latest statistics on the main players, recent developments on HSPA and LTE rollouts and information on the future deployment of 5G is presented.

A review of Belgium’s bundled services developments, as well as, a comprehensive overview of the country’s digital media market, statistics on the major service providers, and also the status of digital, cable and satellite TV are incorporated into this report.   With profiles of the fixed and wireless broadband markets including broadband forecasts for selective years to 2022 and assessments of the developments in related technologies such as FWA, WLAN and Wi-Fi  included.

Key developments:

  • Regulator issues Strategic Plan covering 2017-19;
  • Lycamobile Belgium switches host network from Orange Belgium to BASE;
  • Proximus begins 5G trials with Huawei;
  • Public consultation on the release of 30MHz in the 700MHz band expected by late 2017;
  • Pre-paid mobile SIM cards registration comes into force;
  • Broadband Belgium to set up TD-LTE wireless network using 3.5GHz and 10.5GHz spectrum;
  • Proximus engaged in €3 billion ‘Fibre for Belgium’ investment program to 2027;
  • Competition authority approves Telenet’s acquisition of SFR Belgium;
  • Proximus’s VDSL2 network providing extensive population coverage;
  • Broadband networks on track to reach national 30Mb/s connectivity by 2020;
  • Altice sells its SFR Belgium unit to Telenet;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data for 2016, regulator’s 2016 annual report, telcos’ financial and operating data to Q1 2017, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Proximus (Belgacom), COLT, Orange Belgium (Mobistar), Scarlet, Tele2, Telenet, Versatel, BASE, Lycamobile Belgium, Interkabel, Liberty Global.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key statistics
    • 1.1 Country overview
  • 2. Telecommunications market
    • 2.1 Historical overview
    • 2.2 Market analysis
  • 3. Regulatory environment
    • 3.1 Historic overview
    • 3.2 EU regulatory framework
    • 3.3 Revised NFR
    • 3.4 Regulatory authority
    • 3.5 Government policies
    • 3.6 Interconnect
    • 3.7 Access
    • 3.8 Cable network access
    • 3.9 Number Portability (NP)
    • 3.10 Carrier PreSelection (CPS)
    • 3.11 Wholesale Line Rental (WLR)
  • 4. Fixed network operators
    • 4.1 Introduction
    • 4.2 Proximus
    • 4.3 COLT Telecom
    • 4.4 Orange Belgium
    • 4.5 Scarlet (formerly KPN Belgium)
    • 4.6 Tele2 Belgium
    • 4.7 Telenet
  • 5. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 5.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 5.2 Next Generation Network (NGN)
    • 5.3 International infrastructure
    • 5.4 Cloud services
    • 5.5 Smart meters
  • 6. Broadband market
    • 6.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 6.1.1 Market analysis
      • 6.1.2 Broadband statistics
      • 6.1.3 Market share
      • 6.1.4 Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
    • 6.2 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
      • 6.2.1 Introduction
      • 6.2.2 Telenet
      • 6.2.3 Interkabel
      • 6.2.4 SFR (Numéricable)
    • 6.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Networks
      • 6.3.1 Proximus
      • 6.3.2 Versatel/Tele2 Belgium
      • 6.3.3 Orange Belgium (Mobistar)
      • 6.3.4 Other DSL developments
    • 6.4 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
      • 6.4.1 Introduction
      • 6.4.2 Government support
      • 6.4.3 Digital Metropolis Antwerp
      • 6.4.4 Proximus
    • 6.5 Other fixed broadband services
      • 6.5.1 Broadband Powerline (BPL)
      • 6.5.2 Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)
      • 6.5.3 WLAN/Wi-Fi
      • 6.5.4 WiMAX
    • 6.6 Competition Issues
      • 6.6.1 Wholesale
      • 6.6.2 Naked DSL
  • 7. Digital media
    • 7.1 Introduction
    • 7.2 Regulatory issues
    • 7.3 Satellite TV
    • 7.4 Cable TV
    • 7.5 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
      • 7.5.1 DTT licence issued
      • 7.5.2 Digital switch-over
    • 7.6 Interactive TV (iDTV)
    • 7.7 Key Digital Media Players
    • 7.8 Videostreaming
      • 7.8.1 Major players
    • 7.9 Communications: VoIP, messaging, conferencing
      • 7.9.1 VoIP
  • 8. Digital economy
    • 8.1 E-Health services
  • 9. Mobile communications
    • 9.1 Market analysis
    • 9.2 Mobile statistics
      • 9.2.1 General statistics
      • 9.2.2 Mobile data
      • 9.2.3 Mobile broadband
      • 9.2.4 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
    • 9.3 Regulatory issues
      • 9.3.1 Spectrum
      • 9.3.2 Roaming
      • 9.3.3 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
      • 9.3.4 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • 9.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 9.4.1 Digital networks
      • 9.4.2 Other infrastructure developments
      • 9.4.3 Machine-to-Machine (M2M)
    • 9.5 Major mobile operators
      • 9.5.1 Proximus
      • 9.5.2 Orange Belgium (Mobistar)
      • 9.5.3 BASE
      • 9.5.4 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
    • 9.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 9.6.1 Location-based services
      • 9.6.2 Mobile TV
      • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2016
      • Table 2 – Telecom revenue and investment statistics – 2016
      • Table 3 – Telephone network statistics – 2016
      • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 5 – Broadband statistics – 2016
      • Table 6 – Mobile statistics – 2016
      • Table 7 – National telecommunications authority
      • Table 8 – Telecom market investment: fixed and mobile by sector – 2006 – 2010; 2014 - 16
      • Table 9 – Telecom market investment: network and licenses – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 10 – Telecom investment as a proportion of revenue – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 11 – Telecom market investment by operator (regulator data) – 2007 - 2013
      • Table 12 – Retail and wholesale telecom revenue by sector – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 13 – Total telecom revenue by sector – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 14 – Fixed voice ARPU – 2008 - 2015
      • Table 15 – Unbundled loops and access lines (historic) – 2004 - 2009
      • Table 16 – Fixed numbers ported – 2000 - 2016
      • Table 17 – Carrier preselect numbers and annual change – 2000 - 2016
      • Table 18 – Proximus share of fixed-line traffic by type – 2006 - 2012
      • Table 19 – Fixed-line telephony revenue – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 20 – Average price for fixed-line call – 2007 - 2013
      • Table 21 – Fixed-line and mobile traffic volume – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 22 – Fixed-line traffic by type – 2005 - 2015
      • Table 23 – Proximus (CBU) access channels – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 24 – Proximus Group financial data – 2003 - 2017
      • Table 25 – Proximus revenue by sector – 2004 - 2017
      • Table 26 – Proximus revenue by operating division – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 27 – Proximus fixed-line services revenue by sector (CBU) – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 28 – Proximus monthly ARPU by sector (CBU) – 2005 - 2017
      • Table 29 – Orange Belgium financial data – 2013 - 2017
      • Table 30 – Orange Belgium service revenue by sector – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 31 – Orange Belgium mobile services revenue – 2005 - 2017
      • Table 32 – Orange Belgium subscribers by sector – 2008 - 2017
      • Table 33 – Telenet revenue by sector – 2004 - 2017
      • Table 34 – Telenet subscribers by sector – 2006 - 2017
      • Table 35 – Telenet financial data – 2005 - 2017
      • Table 36 – Telenet subscriber monthly ARPU – 2005 - 2014
      • Table 37 – Historical – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2009
      • Table 38 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2018
      • Table 39 – Fixed lines by type – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 40 – Historical - Internet users and penetration rate – 1995 - 2009
      • Table 41 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
      • Table 42 – Historical – Broadband fixed-line subscribers by technology – 2000 - 2009
      • Table 43 – Broadband fixed-line subscribers by technology – 2010 - 2018
      • Table 44 – Broadband subscription net additions per year – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 45 – Broadband sector revenue – 2014 - 2015
      • Table 46 – Residential broadband ARPU – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 47 – Fixed-line broadband penetration by service – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 48 – Proportion of fixed-broadband lines by speed – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 49 – Fixed-broadband lines by speed – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 50 – Broadband subscribers by operator – 2012 - 2015
      • Table 51 – Broadband market share by operator – 2006 - 2015
      • Table 52 – Forecast broadband subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
      • Table 53 – Cable modem subscribers – 2000 - 2018
      • Table 54 – Telenet broadband subscribers – 2006 - 2017
      • Table 55 – DSL subscribers – 2000 - 2018
      • Table 56 – Historical – Proximus DSL subscribers – 2000 - 2009
      • Table 57 – Proximus DSL subscribers – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 58 – Orange Belgium Group broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2017
      • Table 59 – Orange Belgium broadband and TV subscribers – 2015 - 2017
      • Table 60 – Orange Belgium fixed broadband revenue – 2014 - 2017
      • Table 61 – VDSL subscribers – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 62 – Proximus wholesale broadband lines – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 63 – Analogue and digital TV subscribers – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 64 – Proportion of digital TV subscribers by platform – 2010 - 2015
      • Table 65 – Bundled services subscribers by type – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 66 – Proportion of bundled services subscribers by type – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 67 – Proportion of bundled services subscribers with TV by type – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 68 – Historic - Cable TV subscribers and penetration rate – 1995 – 2009
      • Table 69 – Cable TV subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 – 2012; 2015 - 2016
      • Table 70 – Bundled services by type – 2007 - 2015
      • Table 71 – Proportion of bundled services by type – 2007 - 2015
      • Table 72 – Proximus TV households – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 73 – Proximus TV customers – 2013 - 2017
      • Table 74 – Proximus annualised IPTV ARPU, revenue – 2006 - 2017
      • Table 75 – Telenet cable TV subscribers by sector – 2005 - 2017
      • Table 76 – Telenet subscriber annualised monthly ARPU – 2005 - 2014
      • Table 77 – Telenet triple-play subscribers – 2002 - 2017
      • Table 78 – Telenet bundled services penetration – 2012 - 2017
      • Table 79 – Mobile service revenue – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 80 – Historical – Active mobile/SIM card subscribers and penetration – 1999 - 2009
      • Table 81 – Active mobile/SIM card subscribers and teledensity – 2010 - 2018
      • Table 82 – Market share by operator – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 83 – Mobile ARPU – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 84 – Mobile voice traffic – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 85 – Average use of service per subscriber per month – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 86 – Mobile prepaid and contract subscribers (MNOs) – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 87 – Mobile prepaid and contract subscribers (MNOs and MVNOs) – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 88 – Data traffic on mile networks – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 89 – Proximus mobile data traffic – 2015 - 2017
      • Table 90 – Proximus SMS messages (CBU) – 2008 - 2014
      • Table 91 – SMS traffic – 2001 - 2016
      • Table 92 – Mobile broadband subscribers by technology – 2008 - 2016
      • Table 93 – Mobile broadband penetration by technology – 2009 - 2015
      • Table 94 – Mobile subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
      • Table 95 – 800MHz auction results – 2013
      • Table 96 – 2.6GHz auction results – 2011
      • Table 97 – Spectrum assignment overview
      • Table 98 – European roaming charges – 2007 – 2016
      • Table 99 – European roaming charges – 2014 - 2017
      • Table 100 – Mobile termination tariffs – 2006 – 2013; 2015
      • Table 101 – Mobile termination revenue (historic) – 2007 - 2012
      • Table 102 – Annual mobile numbers ported – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 103 – LTE subscribers – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 104 – M2M connections – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 105 – M2M revenue – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 106 – Orange Belgium M2M connections – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 107 – Orange Belgium M2M revenue – 2009 - 2012
      • Table 108 – Proximus mobile revenue by sector (CBU) – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 109 – Proximus mobile subscribers – 2005 – 2017
      • Table 110 – Proximus CBU subscribers by type – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 111 – Proximus annualised ARPU (CBU) by sector – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 112 – Orange Belgium subscribers (Belgium) – 2007 – 2017
      • Table 113 – Orange Belgium MVNOs subscribers (Belgium) – 2014 – 2017
      • Table 114 – Orange Belgium financial data – 2013 - 2017
      • Table 115 – Orange Belgium mobile services revenue – 2005 - 2017
      • Table 116 – Orange Belgium annualised ARPU – 2005 - 2017
      • Table 117 – BASE mobile revenue – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 118 – BASE subscribers – 2004 - 2015
      • Table 119 – Telenet mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2017
      • Table 120 – BASE annualised ARPU – 2005 - 2015
      • Table 121 – MVNO revenue – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 122 – MVNO subscribers and market share – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 123 – MVNO mobile voice traffic and market share (historic) – 2006 - 2012
      • Chart 1 – Total telecom revenue by sector – 2011 – 2016
      • Chart 2 – Fixed-line traffic by type – 2005 – 2015
      • Chart 3 – Proximus Group financial data – 2003 - 2017
      • Chart 4 – Proximus revenue by sector – 2004 - 2017
      • Chart 5 – Proximus revenue by operating division – 2007 - 2017
      • Chart 6 – Proximus fixed-line services revenue by sector (CBU) – 2007 - 2017
      • Chart 7 – Telenet revenue by sector – 2004 - 2017
      • Chart 8 – Telenet subscribers by sector – 2006 - 2017
      • Chart 9 – Telenet financial data – 2005 - 2017
      • Chart 10 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 - 2018
      • Chart 11 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2005 - 2018
      • Chart 12 – Broadband subscribers by technology – 2005 - 2018
      • Chart 13 – Telenet cable TV subscribers by sector – 2007 - 2017
      • Chart 14 – Mobile/SIM card subscribers and teledensity –2005 - 2018
      • Chart 15 – Market share by operator – 2002 - 2016
      • Chart 16 – Proximus CBU subscribers by type – 2007 - 2017
      • Chart 17 – Proximus annualised ARPU (CBU) by sector – 2007 - 2017
      • Chart 18 – BASE annualised ARPU – 2005 - 2015
      • Exhibit 1 – EU – The New Regulatory Framework (NRF)
      • Exhibit 2 – Access and the local loop
      • Exhibit 3 – Number portability defined
      • Exhibit 4 – Main DSL service providers
      • Exhibit 5 – WiMAX spectrum licenses – 2001 - 2005

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