Belgium Auctions 5G Licences For €1.2B

Mobile operators in Belgium have bid 1.2 billion euros ($1.26 billion) for fifth-generation (5G) mobile licences, the telecoms regulator said on Tuesday.

Proceeds from the auction, which attracted bids from five operators, were 468.5 million euros higher than the minimum price, the regulator said. The regulator also clarified that these proceeds may be further increased through still-pending processes, as the broadcast bands are positioned by the companies.

The Belgian regulator cleared the five entrants to the auction in March, after the government said it would encourage a new entrant on the market to increase competition with the largest operators Proximus Orange Belgium and Telenet’s BASE.

The two new entrants in the auction, CityMesh Mobile and Network Research Belgium, both obtained licences for frequencies that can be used for 5G applications.

Related: AT&T Asks The FCC To Scrutinize 5G Spectrum Acquisition

Proximus committed to pay a total of 491 million euros for its new share of spectrum. The company announced separately that it had obtained 20% more spectrum than all participating companies, solidifying its strong position in the Belgian market. Orange, meanwhile, has said it will pay 322 million euros for the frequencies, while Telenet will invest 264.3 million euros in securing 5G broadband spectrum.

The rollout of 5G technology has been a long-awaited development for tech operators, developers and the digital economy at large, promising extremely fast connection speeds and minimal latency in digital communications that would allow for new applications and products, including the development of a true “Internet of Things”. 5G auctions are expected to pick up speed this year, with announced or planned auctions taking place in Europe, Brazil, Mexico, and elsewhere.

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