Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/09/2012 -- BMI View: Operators in Belgium's mobile market face considerable changes over the next 12-18 months as two new operators are set to launch 3G/4G mobile broadband services. Mobile market expansion accelerated slightly in Q112, though this may have been a one-off contribution from a single operator, BASE. Meanwhile, mobile data will remain the primary driver of wireless revenue growth, helped by rising sales of smartphones and similar internet-enabled devices. Consumers are also favouring converged service bundles, or packs, and industry expansion and consolidation will revolve around companies that best leverage their strengths in the multi-play arena. For that reason, suggestions that KPN will sell BASE have triggered interest from many prospective investors.
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- Mobile growth was boosted in Q112 by a strong performance by KPN-owned BASE. The company, which focuses on the lower end of the market, appears to be weathering the gloomy eurozone economic climate fairly well. This may be due to its relatively recent decision to proceed with a 3G network roll-out and its ability to cross-sell mobile services to its fixed-line customer base.
- Our broadband forecasts have been reined in slightly, as fixed-line broadband uptake rates were found to have been slower in 2011 than predicted, according to new official market data, Meanwhile, M2M usage continues to grow rapidly.
- ARPUs continue to fall - a small uptick for Mobistar in Q112 notwithstanding - though BMI does not forecast as rapid a fall over the 2012-2016 period as in other markets due to the stability of the Belgian mobile market and rising usage of mobile data.
Key Trends & Developments
Telenet has signalled its interest in buying BASE. Telenet, which already offers mobile services on a resale basis, has been seeking a more direct presence in the mobile market and recently won 3G spectrum in partnership with rival triple-play operator Tecteo. Current BASE owner KPN has been considering the sale of the outperforming business in order to make itself less attractive as a takeover target and while BASE remains relatively attractive. No formal takeover talks had been announced at the time of writing. Clearwire Belgium has unveiled plans to launch a commercial 4G LTE network before the end of 2012.
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