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Belgium regulator raises $1.2bn in spectrum auction

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Operators in Belgium made bids totalling US$1.26 billion for 5G mobile licences in a spectrum auction carried out by the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT).

Five operators including CityMesh Mobile, Network Research Belgium, Proximus, Telenet and Orange Belgium took part in the auction, and each operator acquired part of the spectrum.

The proceeds of US1.2 billion that it raised exceeded the entry price set before the start of the auction by US$495 million.

Orange Belgium came out of the auction with the maximum amount of ‘key’ 5G spectrum available, it said in a statement.

The operator acquired 20MHz in the 700MHz band and 100MHz in the 3.6GHz band, and in total it bought 200MHz of spectrum at a fee of US$340 million.

Xavier Pichon, CEO of Orange Belgium said: “The spectrum obtained will allow us to implement our 5G ambitions and deploy innovative and future technologies to continue providing the best experience to our customers in an efficient and sustainable way.

“The 4G and 5G technologies provide an unparalleled customer experience in terms of voice quality, data performance, in limiting CO2 emissions in IoT capabilities and soon in terms of coverage of 5G.

This will allow it to provide capacity for future 5G services as Belgium continues its transition to 5G technology.

Alongside this, the operator also announced it would begin phasing out its 3G technology by mid-2023, optimising the use of its spectrum for 5G services moving forward.

The initial phase of this plan was unveiled at MWC Barcelona earlier this year when the operator declared it would switch off its 2G and 3G legacy networks by the end of the decade.

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