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Belgium - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 25 Jan 2021 Update History

Report Pages: 252

Proximus to acquire the MVNO Mobile Vikings

Belgium’s mobile market is served by the three network operators Proximus, Orange Belgium and BASE, and by a good number of MVNOs. Mobile networks have been upgraded to support growing mobile data use among subscribers, with near-comprehensive LTE coverage. Operators have also trialled 5G in preparation for launching services. However, the auction of 5G-suitable spectrum has been delayed to the beginning of 2022, while the onerous restrictions on radiation have meant that some 5G trials have been suspended.

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 extended the reach of services based on the DOCSIS3.1 standard, while Proximus also has extensive fibre/VDSL and FttP deployments and is currently investing in €3 billion 'Fibre for Belgium' program through to 2027.

In a bid to encourage investment in underserved areas, the regulator in 2018 amended the conditions by which market players grant wholesale access to copper and fibre infrastructure. In May 2019 it opened a further consultation on cost models for access to the networks of cablecos and those of Proximus’s fibre infrastructure.

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

This report profiles Belgium’s telecom market, including regulatory measures and the strategies of the main players. It also covers the fixed and wireless broadband markets, providing broadband subscriber forecasts and an assessment of technology deployments and investment plans. In addition, the report assesses Belgian’s mobile voice and data markets, including statistics on the main players, as well as spectrum auction plans, recent developments regarding LTE, and operator strategies for deploying services based on 5G.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

While roaming revenues have been impacted by Covid-19-related travel restrictions, operators have benefitted from growing convergence and traffic revenue driven by higher usage.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • Proximus activates 5G services to 62 cities and towns;
  • Proximus signs an agreement with DPG Media to acquire MNVO Mobile Vikings;
  • 5G spectrum auction delayed until early 2022;
  • Proximus unveils its new #inspire2020 business transformation strategy, announces acceleration of its fibre roll-out program;
  • Brussels Airport collaborates with Proximus to deploy 5G and IoT solutions;
  • Proximus and EQT Infrastructure sign JV to build a fibre network in Flanders and Wallonia;
  • Proximus and Orange Belgium replace Huawei Mobile RAN and core with Nokia and Ericsson equipment;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data updates and 2019 annual report, telcos' financial and operating data to Q3 2020, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

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

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