Proximus launches 4G in Brussels

Summary

Belgacom’s mobile phone branch Proximus launched 4G in Brussels yesterday, though many residents will have to wait several months to sign on

 
Belgacom CEO Dominique Leroy launches Proximus 4G yesterday in Brussels

Whole city covered by end of next year

Proximus, the mobile phone operator owned by Belgacom, launched its 4G network of high-speed mobile data in Brussels yesterday. The first phase will reach about 20% of the population, and the company promised full coverage by the end of 2015.

The next stage depends on the Brussels regional government. Brussels operates stricter radiation norms for GSM masts than either Flanders or Wallonia, which means a company wishing to provide 4G coverage has to install more masts. The major operators – Proximus, Mobistar and Base – were able to roll out 4G in Flanders with no trouble, but Brussels will have to wait, much to the displeasure of the operators and users.

Brussels’ environment minister Evelyne Huytebroeck stressed the government’s support for technological development at the launch. A new ruling on radiation has been approved and will come into force next month. “The new norm is one of the most safe as far as radiation is concerned,” she said. “The people of Brussels will be able to make use of 4G while remaining protected.”

Belgacom estimates it will take 12 to 18 months for the full roll-out of the 4G network to the whole city. Proximus’ 4G, which can only be used by a smartphone or tablet, currently covers 50% of the country, in 279 municipalities.

Photo by Francois Lenoir/Reuters/Corbis

Mobile phone operator Proximus launches 4G in Brussels.

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