The third-largest mobile operator in Belgium will begin its deployment in Leuven, Antwerp, and around the coast

Telenet (Base) has announced that it will next week begin its deployment of its 5G network, almost two years after being allocated temporary spectrum by the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT).

The deployments will first take place in Leuven, Antwerp, and Belgium’s coastal regions. Customers with a 5G-capable phone will be able to access the new network at no extra cost.

Telenet will continue to gradually rollout 5G, with the entirety of its network scheduled to be upgraded to 5G by 2025. Telenet is partnered with both Nokia and Ericsson for the upgrade.

Belgium’s journey towards 5G has been painfully slow. The coronavirus pandemic coupled with numerous clashes between regional and federal governments have seen the nation’s inaugural 5G spectrum auction delayed repeatedly, now finally scheduled for Q2 2022. 

Fearing that seemingly perpetual delays to auction would see Belgium fall dramatically behind its neighbours in terms of 5G development, BIPT made the decision to allocate temporary 5G spectrum licences early in 2020.

It is this spectrum, in the 3.6 GHz and 3.8 GHz bands, that Telenet is using to launch commercial 5G services.   

This news will make Telenet the second commercial 5G operator in Belgium, behind Proximus, who launched commercial 5G services towards the end of 2020, several months after having received the temporary spectrum. 

Orange Belgium, meanwhile, still has not launched commercial services, though has been using the technology in various private deployments, including at the Port of Antwerp.


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