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Does Belgium Really Need a Fourth Mobile Network Operator?

The Belgian government’s plan to open its 5G auction to a potential fourth telco has been met with derision by the country’s existing telcos – and it’s not hard to see why.

Belgium’s federal government has revealed plans to open up its forthcoming 5G spectrum auction to a fourth network operator.

With its already small population of just 11 million people already split in to two distinct markets (one Flemish speaking, one French speaking), Belgium is already a tough market in which to turn a profit.

“We regret this decision as it will allow a new operator to enter the Belgian market on disruptive terms. This will indeed reduce prices for the consumer in the short term, but will also immediately affect the quality of the network and the profitability of the sector. This will inevitably put pressure on network investments and employment in the Belgian telecommunications sector,” said a spokesperson from Belgium’s biggest telco, Proximus.

With operators across Europe being forced to operate on increasingly tight margins, the move to introduce a fourth operator into the Belgian market will only shrink those margins further. It’s fair to say that after investing huge sums of money in their next generation 5G networks, Belgium’s three network operators may well be feeling a little perturbed by the government’s decision to increase competition and drive down opportunities to secure a return on their investment. – totaltele

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