Digital Agenda Minister Philippe De Backer hopes the auction for the award of the 5G spectrum can be put before the Consultation Committee by next month, he said on Wednesday at the presentation of the Economic Affairs Department’s 8th Barometre of the Information Society.
The auction needs to be completed throughout Europe by the end of 2020, but it is experiencing delays in Belgium because of disagreements between the various levels of the State.
The deployment of the 5G frequency throughout Belgium requires the Federal Government, first of all, to organise an auction for the licences, but the issue has been blocked for months by wrangling between the federal government and the federated bodies.
The federated entities have not agreed to the distribution framework currently on the table, which is 80% for the Federal Government and just 20% for them.
To speed things up, Minister De Backer has offered them to block the income from the 5G auction, estimated at €680 million, in a special account. “In that way, we can argue for as long as we wish on the distribution of the earnings, but the deployment of 5G can begin.”
De Backer, who says he has received no response in this regard, hopes the issue can be tabled at the Consultation Committee in late January or early February. If the federated bodies give the green light, the Federal Government will be able to organise the auction.
“I hope this will be possible before the end of 2020,” the minister concluded.