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 profiles Belgian’s mobile 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.
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 provides a review of bundled services developments, as well as a comprehensive overview of the country’s digital media market. It provides statistics on the major service providers, and also notes the status of digital, cable and satellite TV.
This report profiles Belgium’s fixed and wireless broadband markets. It provides broadband forecasts for selective years to 2022 and assesses developments in related technologies such as FWA, WLAN and Wi-Fi.
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.
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