Proximus, the mobile arm of Belgian fixed line incumbent Belgacom, has become the first of the country’s operators to launch LTE-based services in Brussels. In a press release confirming the development, Belgacom noted that the introduction of 4G in the capital had not been possible until now, but pointed to new legislation as having allowed it to begin rolling out it network in the city. It noted that, on the back of the amended ordinance of the Brussels Capital Region, it has been able to activate some of its antennas in Brussels based on the current standard of three volts per meter (3V/m), saying that at launch around 20% of the capital’s population is within the network footprint. Looking ahead, the company has said that it will look to ramp up the infrastructure switch-on once Belgian authorities implement decrees which will introduce a new standard of six volts per meter (6V/m). In terms of an expected timetable for a city-wide rollout, Belgacom has said that it expects it to take ‘12 to 18 months to develop a high-quality network with sufficient coverage for customers’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, earlier this month Belgacom revealed that Proximus was upgrading all of its customers to 4G at no additional cost. With the company saying that it wanted ‘to let all its customers benefit from the best mobile experience’, it confirmed that over a two-week period it will activate access to its LTE for pre- and post-paid customers, while both residential and business subscribers will benefit from the automatic upgrade. In making the announcement Belgacom also confirmed that its 4G infrastructure is now available in some 260 cities and municipalities, with more than 50% of the population within the network footprint.