Belgium approved spectrum auction rules which could introduce a fourth MNO to a country with a population of less than 12 million people and ramp competition with the nation’s current major operators.

The Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT) issued a call for tender for the long-awaited auction, which will assign new frequencies for 5G networks, and existing 2G, 3G and 4G radio spectrum.

Licences in the 700MHz, 900MHz, 1400MHz, 1800MHz, 2.1GHz and 3.6GHz frequency bands will be up for grabs.

The 700MHz, 1400MHz and 3.6GHz bands are designated for 5G.

Notably, the auction includes a package of spectrum reserved for a possible new MNO, which would then compete with existing players Proximus, Orange Belgium and Telenet/Base.

BIPT explained frequencies in the 900MHz (5MHz duplex), 1800MHz (15MHz duplex), 2100MHz (5MHz duplex) and 700MHz (5MHz duplex) have been reserved for a new entrant.

Candidates have until 16 February to submit their bids and the auction is due to take place in June.

Already present
Proximus launched 5G services in April 2020, making use of existing spectrum assets along with a temporary licence in the 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz band which was awarded to all three existing players.

Last month, Telenet outlined plans to employ the temporary licence and existing 4G frequencies to launch 5G in limited areas.