Belgium - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
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.
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