Telenet and Orange agree mutual wholesale pact

Liberty Global-backed Belgian service provider Telenet has signed two commercial fixed wholesale agreements with rival Orange Belgium, subject to completion of the latter’s acquisition of Wallonian cable operator Voo.

The pair have agreed to provide access to each other’s fixed networks on a commercial basis for a 15-year period. The deals will remain in force independently on the evolution of the current regulated open access model in Belgium.

Telenet and Orange’s agreements cover both current HFC cable and future fiber-to-the-home technologies in both network areas.

Telenet said it strongly believes the agreements will foster competition in the Belgian telecoms market, expanding customers’ freedom of choice in terms of telecom operators and service offerings through at least three nationwide FMC providers.

Telenet will be able to access for the first time the Voo cable network in Wallonia and the remaining one-third of Brussels where it is not currently active, covering around 1.8 million homes passed today and which is in the process of being acquired by Orange Belgium.

The agreements will also include access to future FTTH deployments. Telenet said that by combining its existing nationwide mobile network and its fixed network in Flanders, parts of Brussels and the boot of Hainaut in Wallonia, it would now be able to provide fixed-mobile converged services across the whole of Belgium.

The operator has set a target of achieving a regional off-footprint fixed market share of around 10% over the medium term. Telenet expects to launch in early 2024 following certain investments in IT and product development in the course of 2023, with more details made available closer to the launch date.

Orange Belgium already provides fixed internet and TV services on Telenet’s HFC network through the country’s regulated open access model. The pair said that their latest arrangement will strengthen this existing relationship for another 15 years.

Orange Belgium will also become a wholesale customer on Telenet’s future FTTH network at pre-agreed terms, which Telenet said would improve the return on investment on its investments in fibre.

If and when Telenet’s NetCo joint venture with Fluvius, which is pending EC regulatory approval expected by summer, is given the green light, the agreement with Orange will transfer to NetCo.

“I’m pleased with the 15-year partnership we reached with Orange Belgium, building on a fruitful relationship developed over a number of years. Through the agreements, we now have a clear path to wholesale access in the south of Belgium, complementing our existing fixed footprint in Flanders, parts of Brussels and the boot of Hainaut in Wallonia in addition to our nationwide mobile network coverage. This will enable us to grow into a nationwide FMC player and provide more choice for customers,” said Telenet CEO John Porter.

“Our commercial and go-to-market strategy is far advanced and we have ambitious plans for the South, targeting an off-footprint fixed market share of around 10% over the medium term, which will enhance Telenet’s growth profile. I’m equally excited about the extended partnership with Orange Belgium in our footprint, which covers both our current HFC and future FTTH network. We welcome Orange Belgium as a wholesale customer on our future FTTH network, further increasing our network penetration and improving the return on investment and long-term profitability of our recently announced fibre investments.’

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