Digi to enter Belgian market with plan for fourth 5G operator

Romania-based multi-play service provider Digi is expanding its international presence further with a new mobile joint venture in Belgium.

Digi, which has established itself as a price-competitive disruptor in Spain and Italy, has, through its RCS&RDS Romanian cable subsidiary, teamed up with business-to-business telecom player Citymesh, owned by IT group Cegeka, to win mobile spectrum in Belgium’s 5G spectrum auction. The win means that the pair can now start to build out the country’s fourth 5G network in competition with Proximus, Telenet and Orange.

Digi said that the acquisition of spectrum in Belgium was part of its plan to expand its operations in western European markets. The company is already present in Portugal as well as Spain and Italy. It recently pulled out of the Hungarian market after selling its operation there to local government-backed IT services outfit 4iG.

Digi and Citymesh have acquired rights to frequencies in the 700 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 3600 MHz bands from the Belgian Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (BIPT) for a total of €114.33 million.

The rights of use will be definitively assigned by a decision that will be taken by BIPT in the near future. Citymesh plans to continue to focus on the B2B market while Digi’s involvement will open up the consumer market to the new operator.

“After Romania, Spain, Italy and Portugal ­– the market in which we gained a spectrum for a new entrant in 2021 – we are excited to start preparing for the construction of next-generation networks and services for residential customers in Belgium. More details will be announced later this year. We are confident that we will soon be developing the highest quality networks and services at affordable prices,” said Valentin Popoviciu, Digi vice-president.

“Our goal is to build the best, highest performing 4G/5G network in the country. Because we start from a blank sheet, we have the opportunity to take advantage of the technological advances of 5G from the start and can optimally plan the rollout,” said Mitch De Geest, CEO of Citymesh.


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