Proximus: bringing fourth player to Belgium risks 5G, profits and jobs

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Proximus has hit out at the Belgian government's decision to open its forthcoming 5G auction up to a fourth player, claiming it will damage network quality across the country, operators' bottom lines and jobs.

Belgium's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Telecoms Alexander De Croo said last month that he wanted to bring a fourth player into the market to rival Orange, Proximus and Telenet to drive data usage and create a more consumer friendly market.

However, a Proximus spokesperson said yesterday that the decision was not in the best interests of the Belgian market. They said: "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."

Belgium's spectrum auction will take place in the spring of next year, with plans to sell radio frequencies in the 700MHz, 1400MHz, and 3.6GHz bands. The country will also reauction the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, whose licences are due to expire in March 2021.

Speaking to Mobile Europe last year, Proximus CTO Geert Standaert said that operators needed help from governments and regulators in order to create the right conditions for implementing 5G effectively.