BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgian telecoms company Belgacom said on Tuesday it bought one of the three Belgian licences to operate super-fast 4G mobile services for 120 million euros (101 million pounds).
The 20-year licence for 800 Megahertz (MHz) spectrum will supplement the 4G service Belgacom has provided since November 2012 via the existing 1.8 Gigahertz (GHz) band and through the acquisition in 2011 of a 15-year 4G licence for 2.6 GHz.
Belgium’s telecom regulator said at the start of October that the country’s three main operators – Belgacom, Mobistar and KPN’s BASE – had bid for mobile spectrum in an auction held this month.
The asking price was 120 million euros.
A similar auction in the Netherlands in December 2012 opened the door for Swedish group Tele 2 to enter the market as the country’s fourth mobile operator and raised 3.8 billion euros.
Fourth generation services enable ultra-fast mobile data traffic, allowing users for example to watch television on smartphones, tablets or laptops at a quality similar to that of a fixed line.
Belgacom said it aimed to extend its 4G network to reach half of Belgium’s 11 million population by the end of the year.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Robin Emmott)