BRUSSELS: The Belgian government authorised on Wednesday the auction of the country’s 5G spectrum in 2022 and opened the door to a fourth mobile telecoms operator following months of discussions.
The federal government has wanted to encourage the entry of a new mobile player to increase competition for Proximus , the country’s largest operator, Orange Belgium and Telenet’s BASE.
“The consultation committee gives the green light to the auctioning of 5G spectrum, also opening the door to a fourth operator on the Belgian telecom market,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo wrote on Twitter.
Belgium’s plans for a 5G auction had been blocked for years due to disagreements between federal and regional governments, including over the increase of antennas and on the extent of coverage in rural areas.
The governments approved a draft law in May for an expected 5G auction in early 2022, but left the issue of a fourth licence open.
Proximus, Telenet and Orange Belgium were not immediately available to comment.
Belgian telecoms minister Petra De Sutter wrote on Twitter that a potential fourth player should boost competition.
“That could have positive consequences for all Belgians who currently pay high prices for their mobile subscriptions,” she said.