Belgian incumbent Belgacom has announced that it expects to inaugurate commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services before the end of 2012. In outlining its plans to open up the service to the public, the telco has also revealed that its mobile subsidiary Proximus is currently extending its trial 4G network to five more cites: Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven, Liege and Namur.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in June 2011 Belgacom announced that it had begun upgrading Proximus mobile infrastructure to LTE, at which date it said a select group of corporate customers would be able to use the service immediately via USB modems. However, the company said at the time that a wider consumer launch would not take place until enough LTE-compatible devices became available, coupled with sufficient demand. The operator is using the 1800MHz band for the 4G rollout, and initially the pilot network offered coverage of Hasselt, Mons, Waver and the industrial park of Haasrode, where a number of technology companies operate. In its latest announcement regarding its LTE plans, Belgacom has confirmed that it may also utilise the 2600MHz band to offer LTE services ‘at a later stage, if more capacity is needed’.