Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/18/2012 -- Due to the convergence of a number of factors, the Belgian market is entering a period of evolution that will affect the strategies of a number of operators. These trends and developments are covered in the Q312 Belgium Telecommunications Report, along with market data analysis of the mobile, fixed-line, broadband and pay-TV markets. The report also includes our latest forecast for the telecoms markets through to 2016.BMI believes there are two key developments that will have a significant impact on telecoms markets in Belgium over the medium term. The first is the introduction of mobile termination rate (MTR) cuts in January 2012 and January 2013 that will result in MTRs declining by an average of 74.6% from their 2011 levels to EURc1.08 by 2013. This will have a significant impact on mobile operators Proximus, Mobistar and BASE, and putting increased pressure on them to develop revenue streams in data services. One area Mobistar has performed particularly well in is the nascent machine-tomachine market, claiming 70% market share in 2011. We expect this market to grow rapidly, which could become a valuable source of revenue for the operator.
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Meanwhile, a second development is the licensing of two new mobile network operators in Q411. The Belgian regulator auctioned spare 3G frequencies as well as new 4G licences. While it will still be some time before commercial 4G services are introduced, we think that newcomer 3G operator Telenet-Tecteo could grow very quickly given that it can leverage a near-nationwide cable TV/broadband/voice telephony footprint to offer a full package of affordable converged services. The only questions we have regarding its ability to fulfil that potential is how quickly it can build out its network and whether it will have an easy time negotiating interconnection and access agreements with rivals Proximus, Mobistar and BASE.
Four 4G licences have been issued, with the three incumbents each taking one licence and a fourth being awarded to a company that appears to be completely new to the Belgian - if not the European - telecoms market. The identities of the shareholders backing BUCD BVBA have not been disclosed, although it is suggested that they are based in China and may, in some way, be related to China Mobile and equipment supplier Datang Telecom. If so, it seems likely that the newcomer will build a network based on the Chinese-developed LTE-TDD standard and this suggests that its focus will be on mobile broadband. While we do not discount the possibility that the newcomer will be able to establish itself quickly, it will have an uphill struggle to do so, given the maturity of the Belgian mobile market and the loyalty of millions of mobile broadband users to tried and trusted brands.
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