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    Orange announces delay in 5G rollout

    © Belga
    © Belga

    The 5G network will not be launched before late 2020 or even 2021 in Belgium, Orange reported on Wednesday on presenting its annual financial results. The auctioning of frequencies on the spectrum is not expected before the end of this year and could even be postponed beyond the earlier part of 2020, Orange CEO Michaël Trabbia said.

    The delay stems from the inability of Belgium’s federal and regional governments to reach an agreement how income from the auctions will be distributed, said the Orange CEO, noting that his company needed the frequencies to keep up with the growing consumption of mobile data in Belgium.

    “At a given moment, we risk reaching the limit of what we can offer the customer,” warned Trabbia, whose company registered a 79% hike in mobile data consumption between 2017 and 2018.

    This year will instead be a 5G-preparation year for Orange. “The launch will be in 2020 or a year later, depending on the granting of licenses,” said Trabbia, “but we’re afraid it might only be done in 2021.”

    The telecommunications company says it will be able to hold its own in the short term and find solutions if the stalemate on the auctions continues but will really need the new frequencies by 2021.

    Jason Bennett
    The Brussels Times