BIPT formally awards fourth 3G licence

3 Aug 2011

The Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications (BIPT) has announced that it has officially awarded Tecteo Telenet Bidco (TTB), a partnership between cable operator Telenet and the Tecteo Group, which owns Walloon-based cableco VOO, the country’s fourth third-generation concession. As reported by CommsUpdate, the JV submitted the sole bid for the licence in June 2011, and the regulator has now confirmed that the conditions of the concession were accepted by TTB on 29 July 2011.

TTB last month confirmed that it was looking to acquire the maximum available block of spectrum, 2×14.8MHz in the 2100MHz band, offering EUR71.5 million (USD101 million), the minimum bid amount, for the new frequencies. The BIPT has also confirmed that the new operator will pay the fee in annual instalments over the lifetime of its new licence, with the concessions valid until 15 March 2021. TTB has reportedly already made its payment for the 2011 period, and it is now obliged to start offering commercial services no later than March 2013.

At the time of its bid for the 3G licence TTB also revealed that it will exercise a call option for 2G spectrum in both the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands, with frequencies expected to become available from 27 November 2015. The cableco partnership will spend an aggregate amount of EUR31.5 million, again paid in annual instalments, for 2×4.8MHz in the 900MHz and 2×10MHz in the 1800MHz band. Usage rights for all three spectrum bands which TTB has bid for are technology neutral, allowing for the rollout of high speed mobile data services potentially using 4G technologies such as Long Term Evolution (LTE).