Minister miffed at failure to reach agreement on 5G network

The Minister responsible the digital agenda and telecommunications in Belgium’s caretaker federal government Philippe De Backer (Flemish liberal) has reacted to disappointment to the failure of Belgium’s regional and language community authorities to reach agreement with the federal authorities on how the money raised by the 5G frequency auction should be shared between them. 

A disappointed Mr De Backer told VRT News that “Belgium threatens to lag behind as a result”.  

The launch of a 5G network mobile internet now threatens to be delayed. At the meeting of the consultative committee made up of representatives of all Belgium’s 6 governments not agreement was reached about how the money raised from the auction of frequencies should be shared out.    

Mr De Backer is disappointed to say the least he told VRT News that “A common dispute between the regions about cash is obstructing the economic future of our country”.   

“This is especially unfortunate for our country and the leading position that I want for it”.

In an effort to force a breakthrough, Mr De Backer had suggested auctioning the frequencies and discussing the arrangements for splitting up the proceeds at a later date. However, the other parties around the table wouldn’t agree to this.  

Business wants 5G ASAP

Danielle Jacobs of the Belgian Association of ICT managers Beltug told VRT News that failure to auction the 5G frequencies this year would pose a “gigantic problem”.

The Flemish employers’ federation VOKA also stresses the need for a 5G network. The Head of VOKA Hans Maertens told VRT News that “Certainly as regards Brussels, where a lot of international companies and institution are based, 5G would be an important competitive advantage.