At least eight mobile licences likely to be auctioned in 2009

24 Nov 2008

The Belgian government is planning to offer at least eight new mobile concessions in 2009 in a bid to increase competition in the sector, Reuters reports. Citing comments by the government’s business minister, Vincent Van Quickenborne, it is expected that the most significant licence set for sale is that of the country’s fourth UMTS concession, worth an estimated EUR40 million (USD50.4 million); a number of operators are already believed to have expressed an interest in the licence, with broadband operator Telenet reportedly among them. Mr Van Quickenborne noted, ‘The agreement within the government is that we want to break open the market.’ It was also claimed that other plans to stimulate competition include increasing the power that the Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications (BIPT), the country’s regulator, holds; this follows calls by European Union telecom regulators that such action should be taken amid criticism of the levels of competition in the market.