The Belgian Government has signalled its intention to radically shake up the country's lacklustre mobile market. The lack of competition in the Belgian market, which is dominated by majority-state owned Belgacom, has been heavily criticised in the past by the European Commission which recently called for new and tougher powers for the national regulator BIPT.
In response the Belgian Government is apparently planning to issue as many as eight new mobile licences in 2009. The highest profile of these is likely to be the fourth 3G licence which the Government apparently hopes to auction for as much as US$50 million. Reportedly there are a number of operators interested in acquiring this fourth licence. Also likely to be on offer are WiMAX licences which will almost certainly go for much less than the 3G licence. No information is yet available as to whether the WiMAX licences will be national, regional or metropolitan. The auction is expected to take place in mid-2009
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