Mobistar mulling 4G; may challenge MTR proposals

24 Mar 2010

Belgian mobile network operator Mobistar has revealed that it is considering the acquisition of a 4G concession following reports earlier this month that the government would offer such licences in the latter half of 2010. According to Reuters, Mobistar CEO Benoit Scheen, said of the operator’s current thinking: ‘We will have to see what the conditions are for these 4G licences, but it is logical that we are interested.’ As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Belgian authorities are planning to offer a fourth 3G licence alongside five 2600MHz concessions in September 2010, with an auction for five 15Mhz blocks of 2600MHz spectrum suitable for offering Long Term Evolution (LTE) services to take place immediately after the UMTS frequency sale, with an expected minimum price of EUR15 million per 15MHz block.

In addition Scheen also announced that Mobistar would seek to challenge regulatory proposals put forward with a view to cut fees for routing calls. The Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications (BIPT) unveiled its plans in February 2010, calling for operators to halve mobile termination rates (MTRs), giving operators six weeks to respond. The executive said of the plans: ‘We think the methodology they have used is not appropriate for the Belgian market and we do not agree with the measures they have proposed… We want to keep a certain degree of asymmetry as long as Belgacom remains as dominant as it is. Symmetry will really hurt smaller players.’ It is understood, however, that the operator has not reached a final decision.