Belgium is planning to conduct spectrum auction in 2019, and wants to encourage the entry of a fourth mobile operator to compete with Proximus, Orange Belgium and Telenet’s BASE.
Belgium has three mobile operators with 13.1 million mobile connections. Proximus has 40 percent share, while Mobistar has 23 percent and Base has 23 percent share in the wireless segment.
The country will hold an auction for frequency bands in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz range, as well as new frequencies in 700 MHz, 1400 MHz and 3600 MHz. Belgium aims to auction the frequencies in late 2019 for a duration of 20 years.
“The conditions are such that, in case there is interest, a fourth operator can enter the market on good terms, which allow for a level playing field with existing operators,” the Belgian ministry for telecoms and the digital agenda said in a statement.
“The possible entry of a fourth operator will allow for lower prices, more innovation and a faster roll out of 5G,” the ministry said, referring to a new faster mobile broadband technology.
The government-owned Proximus said it regretted the government’s decision. The entry of the fourth operator would reduce price of wireless plans in the short term but also affect the quality of the network and the profitability of the telecom sector in Belgium.