Belgium - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses
Belgium regulator to set aside spectrum for MNOs’ 5G trials
Belgium’s telecom market has long benefited from comprehensive DSL and cable networks, complemented by limited 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. In addition, Telenet in early 2016 completed its acquisition of the mobile provider BASE from KPN. The deal propelled Telenet as the second largest telco in the country, a position bolstered by a strong presence in the TV and broadband sectors. In 2015 overall telecom revenue increased 2.4% year-on-year, a trend which can be anticipated for 2016 as consumer confidence in economic recovery is translated into greater adoption of mobile data and IP-delivered services.
Belgium’s mobile market is served by three main network operators and a growing number of MVNOs. All three MNOs (Proximus, Orange Belgium and BASE) have upgraded their networks with HSPA and LTE technologies. Mobile TV offerings are available but have yet to make an impression on consumers. While operator investment in LTE infrastructure has meant that there is almost universal population coverage, operators and the regulator are looking to the potential of 5G, with the regulator having worked with Ericsson to assess suitable spectrum for trialling 5G applications in anticipation of a commercial launch of services by about 2022.
Broadband penetration has made considerable progress in recent years, largely thanks to regulatory measures to promote wholesale and bitstream access. There is effective competition between the DSL and cable platforms, while government support has also encouraged investment in fibre networks in recent years. 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, while the incumbent Proximus also has extensive fibre/VDSL and FttP deployments with which it has promoted a range of bundled services.
This report provides data and analyses on key aspects of the Belgian telecom market. It assesses the most recent statistics on fixed-network services and reviews key regulatory issues, noting the status of interconnection, local loop unbundling, number portability and carrier preselection. The report also profiles the mobile voice and data market, providing the latest statistics on the main players, as well as recent developments on HSPA and LTE rollouts as well as the future deployment of 5G. In addition the report assesses the fixed and wireless broadband markets, providing forecasts for selective years to 2021 and assessing developments in related technologies such as FWA, WLAN and Wi-Fi.
Mobistar rebrands as Orange Belgium;
Regulator undergoes structural changes to meet strategic vision;
Regulator planning to allow MNOs to trial 5G technology using suitable spectrum bands;
Government to legislate for pre-paid mobile SIM cards holders to register their details;
Telenet extends MVNO deal with Orange Belgium through to 2018;
Mobile service revenue recovered in 2015;
Report update includes the regulator’s market data update for 2015, telco’s financial and operating data to Q2 2016, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Proximus (Belgacom), COLT, Orange Belgium (Mobistar), Scarlet, Tele2, Telenet, Versatel, Proximus, BASE, Interkabel.