Can Tele2 stir up competition in Belgium’s fixed line market?

15 Jan 2003

Pan-European telco Tele2 [TEL2a.ST] aims to stir up competition in the Belgian telephony market with the launch of fixed line services today. The Swedish operator, which was awarded its wireline licence in 2000, is hoping that low prices and simple tariff structures can dent the dominance of former monopoly operator Belgacom. Despite being fully liberalised in 1998 the Belgian fixed line market remains one of the least competitive in Europe; at the end of 2001 there were 5.09 million fixed line subscribers in the country, with Belgacom accounting for 4.88 million, or 95.9% of the total. The incumbent’s only real rival is Telenet, which claimed the majority of the remaining 4.1% lines in service at that date. Although the Belgian regulator BIPT had awarded public networks licences to 49 operators and voice telephony licences to 31 by mid-2002, most are held by carriers’ carriers or pan-European telcos offering services to multinational companies. The slow advent of competition in Belgium led to an 18.4% decrease in the total number of fixed line subscribers in 2001, as customers abandoned the high costs of fixed line services in favour of mobile telephony. At the end of that year fixed line teledensity stood at just 49.7% whilst cellular penetration reached an all-time high of 73.7%.

CIT's Yearbook of European Telecommunications 2003