Belgium - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts
Belgium spearheads LTE-A trials, 800MHz spectrum made available for mobile broadband services
Belgium’s medium-sized telecom market benefits from comprehensive DSL and cable networks which both provide near national coverage. There is a strong cable-TV sector, and effective competition in the broadband and mobile telephony markets. Broadband penetration has made considerable progress in recent years, largely thanks to regulatory measures to promote wholesale and bitstream access.
The mobile market is served by three main operators and a growing number of MVNOs. All three MNOs have upgraded their networks with HSPA technology, while LTE services are now widely available. Mobistar in April 2014 became one of the first operators globally to complete trials of LTE-A technology combining 1800MHz and 800MHz spectrum, delivering data above 200Mb/s. Mobile TV offerings are available but have yet to make an impression on consumers.
In the broadband sector there is effective competition between the DSL and cable platforms, though prices remain relatively high since the take-up for unbundled loops is low the incumbent Belgacom remains the dominant DSL provider. Network investments from Telenet, deploying DOCSIS 3.0, and from Belgacom with its hybrid fibre/VDSL network have greatly improved the availability of faster services in recent years. Related to this development is the growing popularity of bundled services offerings among consumers, and the efforts among telcos to offer the full range of services.
The broadcasting sector is characterised by language variations to accommodate the French and Walloon regions. Analogue broadcasts have been switched off nationally, allowing for digital dividend spectrum to be auctioned in late 2013 for mobile broadband services.
This report provides data and analysis on key aspects of the Belgian telecom market. It assesses the latest statistics on fixed-network infrastructure and services, and reviews key regulatory issues, noting the status of interconnection, local loop unbundling, number portability and carrier preselection. The strategies and operating performance of the major operators are also profiled. It also considers the mobile market, providing the latest statistics on the main players, as well as the most recent developments on HSPA and LTE rollouts, as well as emerging data markets and data services such as SMS and mobile TV. ARPU and 3G forecasts to 2015 are also provided. In the fixed and wireless broadband markets the report details developments in technologies including VDSL, vectoring DSL, DOCSIS.30, FttX, WiFi, FWA and WiMAX.
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.