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Belgium gets fourth major telecom player that promises affordability
A fourth telecom company is coming to Belgium, joining the ranks of Proximus, Telenet and Orange.
Romanian cellular provider DIGI will enter the Belgian market within the coming months and promises “very affordable prices”.
DIGI is partnering with the West-Flemish company Citymesh, which will concentrate on the business market while DIGI focuses on the consumer one.
“Through this cooperation, Citymesh is not only strengthening its position as an operator in the business market, but, together with DIGI, plans to reshape the playing field in the Belgian telecommunications landscape,” the companies said in a press release.
The move is expected to bring more competition to the consumer market, according to Belgium’s minister of telecommunications Petra De Sutter (Groen).
The addition of a fourth player also generated income for the federal government: the auction brought in around €1.2 billion, far more than the €800 million that was expected.
“We can use the extra revenue to catch up digitally – Belgium is still lagging behind in Europe when it comes to 5G,” De Sutter said in a statement.
“We can now utilise this income to catch up with neighbouring countries by subsidising 5G applications,” De Sutter added. “In this way, we accelerate the rollout and stimulate technological innovation in Belgium.”
Citymesh and DIGI believe that several thousand telecom sites will need to be built in the next few years in order to achieve high-performance coverage of city centres, as well as rail and road infrastructure.
“The joint construction of the new network will ensure an energy- and cost-efficient rollout, which will ultimately benefit society and customers,” said Mitch De Geest, CEO of Citymesh.
“Our goal is to build the best, most performant 4G/5G network in the country. Because we're starting with a blank slate, we have the opportunity to make use of the technological advances of 5G right from the beginning and can plan the rollout optimally.”
De Sutter expressed relief that after three years of stagnation, superfast internet will “soon be a reality” in Belgium.
“This dossier had been at a standstill for years and was delayed by disagreements about the distribution of revenues. With the arrival of a fourth player, I can now truly speak of a breakthrough,” she said.
DIGI is already active in Romania, Spain, Italy and Portugal, with over 18.7 million customers, more than 19,00 employees and a turnover of €1.5 billion in 2021.
Photo: Citymesh Facebook page