Belgium’s telecom sector sees further consolidation
There is considerable competition in Belgium’s telecom market, particularly in the fixed broadband segment.
The mobile market is dominated by Proximus, Telenet, and Orange Belgium.
The preference among customers for bundled services has prompted the MNOs to revamp their strategies. By the end of 2021 about 46% of all triple play offers included mobile (compared to only 16.6% at the end of 2014).
In practice, MNOs must be positioned to offer fixed-line services, and the viability of mobile-only providers weakened some years ago. Proximus and Telenet (the latter owned by Liberty Global, and having more than 1.7 million fixed broadband subscribers and about 2.95 million mobile subscribers as of March 2022) are both well position to provide bundled services. Maintain its competitive position in this market was one of the key reasons for Orange Belgium to acquire VOO (which operates in the French-speaking part of the country) in late 2021, so enabling the operator to expand the reach of its bundled offers.
At the time of the deal, VOO’s HFC network reached 1.8 million premises (offering data rates of up to 1Gb/s). Coverage in Wallonia was 99%, while coverage in Brussels was 34%. Under Orange, VOO has stepped up its investment in FttP infrastructure, and in mid-2022 it was able to expand the reach of its 1Gb/s service to a number of other towns across the country. VOO expected that by the end of 2023 of would provide a gigabit service to half of all premises in Wallonia, and across all of the Brussels region.Key developments:
- Orange Group acquires VOO, launches a 1Gb/s service in several municipalities;
- Proximus acquires the MNVO Mobile Vikings, begins phasing out VDSL services;
- Delayed 5G spectrum auction is completed, with two new entrants securing concessions;
- Telenet sells its mobile towers infrastructure €745 million;
- Orange Belgium launches 5G services;
- Report update includes the regulator's market data updates and 2021 annual report, telcos' financial and operating data to Q1 2022, updated Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Proximus (Belgacom), Orange Belgium (Mobistar), BASE, Telenet, Lycamobile Belgium, Versatel, Interkabel, COLT, Scarlet, Tele2