Three operators, Telenet, Proximus and Orange currently carve up the Belgian mobile phone market. Next year the frequencies for the next two decades are being auctioned including those for the faster 5G network. Mr De Croo believes the time is right to grant access to a fourth operator. "Countries with four operators enjoy lower prices, greater data traffic and more investments" he says. "Interest in developing the 5G network here certainly exists”.
Stricter radiation norms in Brussels could jeopardise the arrival of 5G in the region. Mr De Croo notes that minds may be changing in Brussels at the minute. The introduction of 5G is expected in 2020 when the minister hopes a uniform arrangement for the entire country can be in place.
The frequency auction should raise 700 million for Belgian coffers. Part of the cash will be used to cut the national debt.