5G services should finally be launched in the Brussels Capital Region from September, L’Echo reports. Following parliamentary approval earlier this year of legislation relaxing strict limits on radio frequency emissions, the executive orders allowing deployment of 5G antennas have now been published in the official journal, Aurelie Czekalski, a member of the regional parliament, informed the paper. The country’s mobile network operators – Proximus, Telenet and Orange – are reportedly preparing to submit their permit applications to the regional environment authority, which is expected to grant authorisation within 30 days.
Once approval has been granted, all that remains is to upgrade the existing antennas from 4G to 5G, which is reportedly a simple operation that will only take a few days, meaning the first 5G antennas in Brussels could be switched on in September. Priority will be given to the most densely populated areas of the region, with the upgrade set to relieve pressure on existing 4G networks, which often lack capacity at peak times. It could take another year before the entire capital is covered, however, as the strict radiation limit of 14.5 volts per metre will require the deployment of additional antennas on existing sites to meet demand.
Orange Belgium revealed it had already installed 3.5GHz antennas at several sites in Brussels, while also confirming it expects to obtain the necessary permits before the end of September. Although Telenet has not yet deployed any 5G equipment, it noted its sites could be adapted in ‘a few days’, meaning activation in September ‘is a realistic prospect’. Proximus, meanwhile, did not offer a precise schedule for deployment, but said it plans to extend 5G coverage gradually during 2023 and 2024.
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