The Belgian government has decided to postpone its 5G auction until 2020, according to the country’s telecoms minister, Philippe De Backer.
The Belgian government had previously stated that it was aiming to hold the auction in 2019, however, in an interview with Belgian newspaper De Tijd, De Backer said that the auction would not take place until at least 2020.
Belgium expects to raise almost €700m from the sale of 5G spectrum licences but the government infighting over how the money raised should be reinvested has led to a delay in beginning the auction process.
Belgium’s telecoms market is split between the French-speaking Walloon region of the south and the Flemish-speaking regions of the north. Belgium already has 3 mobile network operators serving its 11 million consumers (namely Orange, Proximus, and Telenet). The Belgian government has hinted that the launch of 5G might present an opportunity for the launch of a fourth MNO – further increasing competition in an already congested market.
Orange has already announced that it intends to launch commercial 5G services in Brussels in 2020, with Proximus and Telenet both aiming for full commercial rollout in 2021. ―Total Telecom