Belgium enters the 5G era

Belgium regulator BIPT has granted temporary 5G licences to five telecoms operators, kick-starting the 5G era in the country.

While Proximus might claim it has already launched ‘5G Light’ products, this is somewhat of a dubious launch as it was offering services over existing spectrum licences. As many have found out in the US, unless you are delivering 5G over the mid-band spectrum, it is unlikely to live up to the expectations.

With this announcement, the BIPT has offered temporary licences to Cegeka, Entropia, Orange, Proximus and Telenet in the 3600-3800 MHz frequency band. Although this is not a permanent solution, it does at least allow telecoms operators to deliver speed boosts along the lines as to what has been promised over the years. As a point of comparison, Proximus and is lightweight 5G connectivity could see a 30% speed upgrade.

Aside from COVID-19 causing issues, a delay to the spectrum auction has been attributed to a disagreement between federal and regional governments. Part of this dispute has been down to electromagnetic frequency radiation and what would be deemed safe for the general public.

The temporary licences granted here will offer each of the telecoms operators 40 MHz of spectrum to ease the country into 5G. These licences will be valid until the spectrum auction takes place.

Omdia subscription forecast for Belgium, 2020-22 (thousands)
Year 4G 5G
2020 7,935 129
2021 8,920 375
2022 8,515 2,345


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