Belgian Greens call for suspension of 5G licensing process

1 May 2020

The Belgian Greens and Ecolo parties have tabled a resolution calling on the Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications (BIPT) to suspend plans to allocate provisional 5G licences until the COVID-19 crisis has eased, arguing more time is needed for a wider public debate, Datanews reports. The BIPT revealed on 24 March that five companies – Proximus, Orange Belgium, Telenet, Cegeka and Entropia – had applied for temporary rights in the 3.6GHz-3.8GHz band, but Green MP Stefaan Van Hecke argues publishing such decisions on the regulator’s website is not conducive to wider public debate. ‘We should not give the impression that people cannot fully participate in the debate or that the government is forcing something down their throats,’ he said.

Proximus launched Belgium’s first 5G mobile services on 1 April, using its existing spectrum holdings and infrastructure to provide coverage in more than 30 communes across the country. It has since been forced to suspend the service in some areas, however, after local authorities and anti-5G groups complained the company had deployed the technology without adequate opportunity for public consultation during the coronavirus crisis.