Mobistar and BASE initiate legal challenge to 2G renewal legislation

24 Sep 2010

Belgian mobile network operators Mobistar and BASE have launched individual legal appeals in the Constitutional Court of Belgium against a decision by the government related to the fees both pay for extending the duration of their 2G concessions. According to French newspaper L’Echo, Mobistar and BASE have followed in the footsteps of the country’s largest cellco by subscriber Belgacom Mobile, which last month initiated its own appeal against the charges. Both Mobistar and BASE are demanding the cancellation of articles of a March 2010 Act which altered the conditions for extending GSM licences: the duo’s original concessions, issued in 1995, were valid for 15 years, with further five-year terms granted automatically unless the state waived the right to renew by informing operators at least two years in advance of the licence expiration. The March 2010 regulatory changes removed the automatic renewal feature of the concessions, while also effectively introducing fees for renewal. Should the new regulations remain in place Belgacom, Mobistar and BASE will face charges of EUR74 million (USD98.7 million), EUR76 million and EUR30 million respectively in order to extend their 2G licences when they next expire.

Belgium, BASE Company, Orange Belgium