Proximus and Orange ordered to delay network sharing joint venture

13 Jan 2020

The Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) has suspended implementation of the planned mobile network sharing joint venture between Proximus and Orange Belgium until 16 March following a complaint from rival mobile network operator (MNO) Telenet. In a press release issued on 10 January, the competition authority announced it was imposing an interim injunction on the transfer of staff to the new joint venture, although the two companies are free to proceed with preparations for the alliance, including the purchase of network equipment. The BCA noted the delay will give the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT) more time to consider the deal, first announced in July 2019. Telenet, which argues the tie-up will limit competition and hamper innovation, welcomed the announcement, describing it as ‘a step in the right direction’. Orange and Proximus, meanwhile, stressed they had already taken steps to allay the regulator’s concerns and claimed the agreement will have ‘positive effects for customers and Belgian society as a whole’.