Proximus loses case against GSM mast tax

Summary

Brussels has now joined Wallonia in demanding a tax on mobile phone masts erected by providers, and the European Court of Justice upholds their right

€1,500 per mast in Brussels

Proximus, the state-owned telecommunications company, has lost an appeal to the European Court of Justice regarding a tax on mobile phone masts imposed by the Brussels commune of Etterbeek and the city of Namur. The ruling that the tax is not in breach of EU law confirms a previous court ruling against mobile operator Base two months ago.

The Court was responding to a judicial question from the court of first instance in Brussels, in a case filed by Proximus against the “pylon tax” in Etterbeek. In October, it dealt with a question from the court in Mons in the same manner in a case brought by Base.

The decision came as a surprise at the time, as it went against the advice of the EU court’s advocate general, who argued that the tax was indeed in breach of EU law.

The tax of up to €8,000 per mast was approved by the Walloon region last year, and it has now been introduced by about half of all Walloon municipalities. Brussels followed suit this year, at a lower rate of about €1,500 a mast.

According to Proximus, the millions it pays in taxes represent a severe limit on the funding available for the improvement of communications infrastructure. The latest ruling, the company said, did not mean the end of its battle against the tax.

Photo: Joe Ravi/Wikimedia

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