Belgium - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Belgium’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the fixed-line, mobile and broadband 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;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Mobile subscribers and ARPU;
  • Broadband market forecasts;
  • 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:- September 2018 (17th Edition)

Executive Summary

Belgium government preps conditions for a fourth mobile player in 2019

Belgium’s telecom market is relatively small but 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. In mid-2018 the regulator imposed amended conditions on market players aimed at encouraging investment in underserved areas and securing wholesale access to copper and fibre infrastructure.

The mobile market is served by the three network operators Proximus, Orange Belgium and BASE/Telenet and by a number of MVNOs. Mobile networks have been upgraded with LTE technology to support growing mobile data use among subscribers, while Proximus and Telenet have also initiated trials to develop services based on 5G. Commercial 5G services are expected soon after the auction of 3.5GHz spectrum in early 2019.

The mobile market continues to be transformed, particularly with MVNOs shifting between networks. The government is keen to set the framework which could enable a new player to enter the market in 2019. Existing operators are opposed to such a move, citing harsh competitive conditions and pressure on both revenue and investment in the sector. A characteristic of the market is customer preference for quad-play services, and to this end MNOs are strengthening their fixed-line offerings. In this landscape the mobile-only provides will struggle to gain customers in coming years.

In the broadband sector there is effective competition 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 company expected that all of its nodes would be upgraded to provide a gigabit service by mid-2019. Proximus has also embarked on a €3 billion ‘Fibre for Belgium’ which will see about 85% of businesses and 50% or residential premises served with FttH or FttB/VDSL by 2027.

This report provides data and analysis on key aspects of the Belgian telecom market. It assesses the latest statistics on fixed-network services and 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. The report also analyses the fixed and wireless broadband markets, providing broadband forecasts and assessing developments in related technologies such as FWA, WLAN and Wi-Fi In addition the report the mobile market, providing statistics on the main players and regulatory measures as well as recent developments on LTE rollouts and investment in 5G.

Key developments:

  • Government aiming to set up a fourth mobile operator in early 2019;
  • Lycamobile Belgium switches host network from Orange Belgium to BASE;
  • Proximus and Orange Belgium progress with 5G trials;
  • Regulator issues Strategic Plan covering 2017-19, undergoes structural changes to meet strategic vision;
  • Proximus engaged in €3 billion 'Fibre for Belgium' investment program to 2027;
  • Regulator approves amended wholesale access conditions;
  • Networks on track to reach national 30Mb/s connectivity by 2020;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data update for 2017, regulator's 2017 annual report, telcos' financial and operating data to Q2 2018, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

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

Henry Lancaster
September 2018

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 Regulatory authority
    • 3.3 Government policies
    • 3.4 Interconnect
    • 3.5 Access
    • 3.6 Cable network access
    • 3.7 Number Portability (NP)
    • 3.8 Carrier PreSelection (CPS)
    • 3.9 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 – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • 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. Mobile communications
    • 7.1 Market analysis
    • 7.2 Mobile statistics
      • 7.2.1 General statistics
    • 7.3 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • 7.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 7.4.1 5G
      • 7.4.2 4G (LTE)
      • 7.4.3 3G
      • 7.4.4 GSM
    • 7.5 Internet of Things (IoT)
      • 7.5.1 Machine-to-Machine (M2M)
    • 7.6 Mobile data
      • 7.6.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 7.6.2 SMS over fixed networks
      • 7.6.3 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
    • 7.7 Mobile broadband
    • 7.8 Regulatory issues
      • 7.8.1 Spectrum
      • 7.8.2 Roaming
      • 7.8.3 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
      • 7.8.4 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • 7.9 Major mobile operators
      • 7.9.1 Proximus
      • 7.9.2 Orange Belgium (Mobistar)
      • 7.9.3 BASE (Telenet)
      • 7.9.4 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
    • 7.10 Mobile content and applications
      • 7.10.1 Location-based services
      • 7.10.2 Mobile TV
      • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities - Belgium – 2018 (e)
      • Table 2 – Telecom market investment: fixed and mobile by sector – 2006 – 2010; 2014 – 16
      • Table 3 – Total telecom market investment – 2012 – 2017
      • Table 4 – Telecom market investment: network and licenses – 2011 – 2017
      • Table 5 – Telecom investment as a proportion of revenue – 2011 – 2017
      • Table 6 – Telecom market investment by operator (regulator data) – 2007 – 2013
      • Table 7 – Retail telecom revenue by sector – 2012 – 2017
      • Table 8 – Wholesale telecom revenue by sector – 2012 – 2017
      • Table 9 – Total telecom revenue by sector – 2011 – 2017
      • Table 10 – Fixed voice ARPU – 2008 – 2015
      • Table 11 – Unbundled loops and access lines (historic) – 2004 – 2009
      • Table 12 – Fixed numbers ported – 2000 – 2017
      • Table 13 – Carrier preselect numbers and annual change – 2000 – 2017
      • Table 14 – Proximus share of fixed-line traffic by type – 2006 – 2012
      • Table 15 – Fixed-line telephony revenue – 2002 – 2017
      • Table 16 – Average price for fixed-line call – 2007 – 2013
      • Table 17 – Fixed-line and mobile traffic volume – 2008 – 2017
      • Table 18 – Fixed-line traffic by type – 2005 – 2017
      • Table 19 – Proximus (CBU) access channels – 2007 – 2018
      • Table 20 – Proximus Group financial data – 2003 – 2018
      • Table 21 – Proximus revenue by sector – 2004 - 2018
      • Table 22 – Proximus revenue by operating division – 2007 – 2018
      • Table 23 – Proximus fixed-line services revenue by sector (CBU) – 2007 – 2018
      • Table 24 – Proximus monthly ARPU by sector (CBU) – 2005 – 2018
      • Table 25 – Orange Belgium financial data – 2013 – 2018
      • Table 26 – Orange Belgium service revenue by sector – 2007 – 2016
      • Table 27 – Orange Belgium retail service revenue by sector (new style) – 2016 – 2018
      • Table 28 – Orange Belgium subscribers by sector – 2008 – 2018
      • Table 29 – Telenet revenue by sector – 2004 – 2018
      • Table 30 – Telenet subscribers by sector – 2006 – 2018
      • Table 31 – Telenet financial data – 2005 – 2018
      • Table 32 – Telenet subscriber monthly ARPU (historic) – 2005 – 2014
      • Table 33 – Historical – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995; 1997; 1999 – 2009
      • Table 34 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 – 2018
      • Table 35 – Fixed lines by type – 2006 – 2017
      • Table 36 – Historical - Internet users and penetration rate – 1995 – 2009
      • Table 37 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2010 – 2018
      • Table 38 – Historical – Broadband fixed-line subscribers by technology – 2000 – 2009
      • Table 39 – Broadband fixed-line subscribers by technology – 2010 – 2018
      • Table 40 – Broadband subscription net additions per year – 2005 – 2017
      • Table 41 – Residential broadband revenue – 2014 – 2017
      • Table 42 – Residential broadband ARPU – 2013 – 2017
      • Table 43 – Fixed-line broadband penetration by service – 2007 – 2017
      • Table 44 – Proportion of fixed-broadband lines by speed – 2010 – 2017
      • Table 45 – Fixed-broadband lines by speed – 2012 – 2017
      • Table 46 – Broadband subscribers by operator – 2012 – 2015
      • Table 47 – Broadband market share by operator – 2006 – 2015
      • Table 48 – Forecast broadband subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
      • Table 49 – Cable modem subscribers – 2000 – 2018
      • Table 50 – Telenet broadband subscribers – 2006 – 2018
      • Table 51 – DSL subscribers – 2000 – 2018
      • Table 52 – Historical – Proximus fixed broadband subscribers – 2000 – 2009
      • Table 53 – Proximus fixed broadband subscribers – 2010 – 2018
      • Table 54 – Orange Belgium broadband subscribers – 2008 – 2018
      • Table 55 – Orange Belgium TV subscribers – 2016 – 2018
      • Table 56 – VDSL subscribers – 2012 – 2017
      • Table 57 – FttP/B subscribers – 2012 – 2017
      • Table 58 – Proximus wholesale broadband lines – 2010 – 2016
      • Table 59 – Mobile revenue – 2012 – 2017
      • Table 60 – Historical – Active mobile/SIM card subscribers and penetration – 1999 – 2009
      • Table 61 – Active mobile/SIM card subscribers and teledensity – 2010 – 2018
      • Table 62 – Market share by operator – 2002 – 2017
      • Table 63 – Mobile ARPU – 2011 – 2017
      • Table 64 – Mobile voice traffic – 2005 – 2017
      • Table 65 – Average use of service per subscriber per month – 2010 – 2017
      • Table 66 – Mobile prepaid and contract subscribers (residential, MNOs) – 2012 – 2017
      • Table 67 – Forecast - Mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
      • Table 68 – LTE subscribers with data – 2013 – 2017
      • Table 69 – 3G subscribers with data – 2013 – 2017
      • Table 70 – M2M connections – 2011 – 2017
      • Table 71 – M2M revenue – 2014 – 2017
      • Table 72 – Orange Belgium M2M connections – 2009 – 2018
      • Table 73 – Data traffic on mile networks – 2012 – 2017
      • Table 74 – Average data traffic per subscribers per month – 2013 – 2017
      • Table 75 – Proximus mobile data traffic – 2015 – 2017
      • Table 76 – Proximus average mobile data traffic – 2016 – 2018
      • Table 77 – Proximus SMS messages (CBU) – 2008 – 2014
      • Table 78 – SMS traffic – 2001 – 2017
      • Table 79 – Mobile broadband subscribers by technology – 2008 – 2018
      • Table 80 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2008 – 2018
      • Table 81 – 800MHz auction results – 2013
      • Table 82 – 2.6GHz auction results – 2011
      • Table 83 – Spectrum assignment overview
      • Table 84 – Mobile roaming voice traffic – 2015 – 2017
      • Table 85 – European roaming charges – 2007 – 2016
      • Table 86 – European roaming charges – 2014 – 2017
      • Table 87 – Mobile termination tariffs – 2006 – 2013; 2015
      • Table 88 – Mobile termination voice revenue – 2007 – 2017
      • Table 89 – Annual mobile numbers ported – 2002 – 2017
      • Table 90 – Proximus mobile revenue by sector (CBU) – 2007 – 2018
      • Table 91 – Proximus mobile subscribers – 2005 – 2018
      • Table 92 – Proximus CBU subscribers by type – 2007 – 2018
      • Table 93 – Proximus annualised ARPU (CBU) by sector – 2007 – 2018
      • Table 94 – Orange Belgium subscribers (Belgium) – 2007 – 2018
      • Table 95 – Orange Belgium MVNOs subscribers (Belgium) – 2014 – 2018
      • Table 96 – Orange Belgium financial data – 2013 – 2018
      • Table 97 – Orange Belgium mobile services revenue – 2005 – 2018
      • Table 98 – Orange Belgium annualised ARPU – 2005 – 2016
      • Table 99 – Orange Belgium annualised ARPO – 2017 – 2018
      • Table 100 – BASE mobile revenue – 2007 – 2018
      • Table 101 – BASE subscribers (historic) – 2004 – 2015
      • Table 102 – Telenet mobile subscribers – 2006 – 2018
      • Table 103 – BASE annualised ARPU – 2005 – 2015
      • Table 104 – MVNO revenue – 2012 – 2017
      • Table 105 – MVNO subscribers and market share – 2006 – 2017
      • Table 106 – MVNO mobile voice traffic and market share – 2006 – 2017
      • Chart 1 – Total telecom revenue by sector – 2011 – 2017
      • Chart 2 – Fixed-line traffic by type – 2005 – 2017
      • Chart 3 – Proximus Group financial data – 2003 – 2018
      • Chart 4 – Proximus revenue by sector – 2004 – 2018
      • Chart 5 – Proximus revenue by operating division – 2007 – 2018
      • Chart 6 – Proximus fixed-line services revenue by sector (CBU) – 2007 - 2018
      • Chart 7 – Telenet revenue by sector – 2004 – 2018
      • Chart 8 – Telenet subscribers by sector – 2006 – 2018
      • Chart 9 – Telenet financial data – 2005 – 2018
      • Chart 10 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 – 2018
      • Chart 11 – Fixed lines by type – 2006 – 2017
      • Chart 12 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2005 – 2018
      • Chart 13 – Broadband subscribers by technology – 2005 – 2018
      • Chart 14 – Proportion of fixed-broadband lines by speed – 2010 – 2017
      • Chart 15 – Mobile revenue – 2012 – 2017
      • Chart 16 – Mobile/SIM card subscribers and teledensity –2005 – 2018
      • Chart 17 – Market share by operator – 2002 – 2017
      • Chart 18 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2008 – 2018
      • Chart 19 – Proximus CBU subscribers by type – 2007 – 2018
      • Chart 20 – Proximus annualised ARPU (CBU) by sector – 2007 – 2018
      • Chart 21 – BASE annualised ARPU – 2005 – 2015
      • Exhibit 1 – Access and the local loop
      • Exhibit 2 – Number portability defined
      • Exhibit 3 – Main DSL service providers
      • Exhibit 4 – WiMAX spectrum licenses – 2001 – 2005
      • Exhibit 5 – Key global developments towards 5G standardisation
      • Exhibit 6 – 5G spectrum, speed and devices
      • Exhibit 7 - Key considerations for government and regulators in relation to 5G

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