Belgian regulator Bipt has published two draft decisions on assigning radio frequency rights, following earlier public consultations. The first concerns the block 3,410-3,430 MHz, so operators other than Citymesh and Gridmax can bid for these rights. The other decision covers relaxing rules for the 3.8-4.2 GHz band for 4G and 5G local private networks. 

The 20 MHz block in the 3.4 GHz band was left unsold at the spectrum auction earlier this year, and only Citymesh and Gridmax could buy it under the licence conditions. With the new decision, other operators could acquire the frequencies and put them to efficient use. 

During the market consultation, Orange Belgium, Proximus and Telenet Group were opposed to the changes, but Bipt did not find their objections sufficient justification. 

The second decision concerns new 4G and 5G networks in the spectrum band 3,800-4,200 MHz. While current rules allow private local networks to use 4G or 5G technology, the related demands are not in line with the latest ‘Industry 4.0’ requirements. Rights are attributed per station, whereas the number of stations in current networks can be very high. If licences were attributed based on the royal decree from December 2009, holders could be faced to pay extraordinary amounts. Hence the need for a change in the rules.

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