Belgian minister proposes placing 5G auction proceeds in blocked account

6 Dec 2019

The Belgian digital agenda and telecoms minister, Philippe De Backer, hopes a proposal to place the proceeds of the country’s 5G spectrum auction in a blocked account will enable a sale to go ahead before the end of 2020, reports Datanews. The auction has been delayed by a disagreement with the country’s regional governments over how the anticipated EUR680 million (USD745.2 million) raised by the sale should be distributed. The minister told a recent press conference that the solution would enable the Consultation Committee – the consultative body comprising the country’s various governments – to discuss the issue early next year, with a view to staging an auction before the end of 2020. ‘At that point, we can spend as long as needed arguing about how to distribute the proceeds, but in the meantime, the 5G rollout can go ahead’, he said. De Backer also suggested the auction proceeds could be used to invest in 5G infrastructure. However, the country’s mobile operators are not thought to be keen on this idea, as it could make Belgium more attractive for a fourth competitor.