Belgian regulator publishes latest study on 800MHz band usage

3 Apr 2013

The Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications (BIPT) has issued an updated report considering the possible advantages to be had from using the 790MHz-862MHz band for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and for mobile broadband services. The regulator’s original report was compiled by Aetha Consulting Limited in collaboration with NERA Economic Consulting and resulted in the publication of ‘Regulations for award of the 790MHz-862MHz band’ of 31 October 2012. Following its publication, the government asked the BIPT to conduct a further study on the assessment of the value of the 800MHz band for one of two possible uses: DTT and mobile broadband. In its press release the watchdog notes that until recently, evaluations were only made on the basis of extrapolations of the situation in other European countries and the basic parameters (e.g. duration of authorisations) which have now changed. Further investigations were conducted by Aetha Consulting Limited, giving rise to the latest report, ‘Economic benefits from use of the band 790MHz-862MHz for mobile broadband and DTT’ – dated 27 February 2013.

In conclusion, the preliminary findings of the report are:

• It expects there to be very limited value to use of the band by DTT. Within its base case analysis, the report estimates that the value for use of the frequencies for free-to-air services would be about EUR58 million (USD74.5 million), and the value for use by DTT subscription services would be about EUR226 million.

• In contrast, the study concludes that it expects there to be significant value for use of the band by mobile broadband services. Its ‘model’ expects that overall surplus derived from use of the band could be in the region of EUR1.056 billion.

The report also says that it is confident that its results are ‘a valid representation of the potential surplus within the context of the Belgian market. Despite generally applying optimistic assumptions when estimating the economic benefits of using the 790MHz-862MHz band for DTT services, we cannot establish a significant positive value’. The full report can be found at: http://www.ibpt.be/en/622/ShowDoc/3935/Cost_accounting/Draft_decision_of_the_BIPT_Council_regarding_whole.aspx