Belgium telco brands Telenet and Base have announced impressive figures about the expansion of their 5G network in Belgium since its launch 500 days ago. The companies have been gradually building out their 5G network since December 2021 and are now close to achieving their coverage targets.
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5G Network Coverage
More than 850 mobile sites currently provide 5G coverage, with over 260 municipalities having one or more active 5G masts on their territory. The majority of the sites have been activated in Flanders, in and around large cities like Antwerp, Ghent, Genk, Leuven, Mechelen, Aalst, Hasselt, Kortrijk, Lokeren and also in the coastal zones.
According to the telco, the Belgian coast also has excellent coverage with 5G, reaching almost 85% in some zones. In addition, the roads between densely populated areas receive special attention.
No 5G Coverage in Brussels yet
However, the adoption of electromagnetic wave emission standards has been delayed, and Brussels does not yet have 5G coverage. Meanwhile, the coverage in Wallonia is limited to areas around Charleroi airport and parts of Mons and Ath. The recent approval of standards in Wallonia and Brussels should enable Telenet and Base to expand their 5G network soon.
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5G Rollout in Wallonia and Brussels
The companies have planned an investment of approximately 300 million euros in the rollout of the technology by 2025, with plans to increase the number of sites on the territory this year alone. While initially limited to Flanders, Telenet and Base are now ready to start the rollout in Wallonia and Brussels. The telco said the focus will first be on zones with the highest capacity requirement.
Growth in 5G Data Usage by 50% per month
Telenet and Base are also noticing a continued increase in their customers' use of 5G data, with the daily use of 5G data growing by an average of 50% per month over the past year. This growth rate is higher than that seen with the launch of 4G. According to the company, 5G technology now accounts for about 4% of total data traffic, compared to 94% for 4G and less than 2% for 2G and 3G.
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5G Device Penetration
Finally, the companies are also witnessing steady growth in the penetration of 5G phones among their customers. Currently, about 30% of smartphones using Telenet and Base's network are compatible with 5G, compared to 22% a year ago. Furthermore, around 85% of smartphones sold in March 2023 were 5G-compatible, compared to only 70% in the same month last year.
Telenet and Base Brands
Under the brand Telenet, the company offers digital television, high-speed internet and fixed and mobile telephony services to residential customers in Flanders and Brussels. The company serves mobile telephony users in Belgium under the brand name Base.