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On July 12, 2018, the Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications (BIPT) published an impact study regarding the entrance of a fourth mobile operator into the Belgian telecoms market. It also published proposed legislation to auction new mobile frequencies in 2019.


  • While many benefits are envisaged for the market, additional measures will need to be put in place to create the right market conditions for a new entrant. Not only does this mean sufficient levels of reserved spectrum for the fourth operator but also temporary exemption from coverage of railways for a period of nine years, discount on the annual fees during the first years of the licence validity, and a less stringent schedule for the population coverage requirements.

Features and Benefits

  • Assesses the impact of a fourth operator on the Belgian telecoms market.
  • Identifies regulatory measures required to encourage a new player to the market.

Key questions answered

  • What regulatory measures need to be implemented to level the playing field?
  • What lessons must be learnt from previous failed attempts to attract a new entrant to the market?

Table of contents

Ovum view

  • Summary
  • Reserving low-frequency spectrum for a fourth player will ensure they can deliver both coverage and capacity
  • Processing times for acquiring a building permit are long and need to be addressed by the regulator
  • Previous attempts to encourage a fourth MNO into the market were unsuccessful and these mistakes should not be repeated


  • Further reading
  • Author