The 3.8 – 4.2 GHz-band will soon be available for private, local networks
In early February 2023, the Royal Decree to allow spectrum for private local networks in Belgium was adopted at the Federal level and agreed at the regional level. The band can be used for 5G, but also for 4G technology. Germany and the UK have taken a similar decision. Soon, interested companies will be able to organise communications on their company site using their own spectrum.
17 / 02 / 23
Why is this relevant?
In order for applications to talk with each other, they must be connected. These could be applications used by humans or machines, or could be incorporated in sensors and other IoT devices. A private, local network, limited to the company site, might be an appropriate solution for some of the applications, eliminating the need to use the mobile operators’ networks and spectrum.
Furthermore, allowing private local networks to be built with the company’s own spectrum can have a significant impact on the future costs of private networks.
How is band being allocated?
While the whole block is reserved, only 200 MHz will be allocated for private, local networks, to ensure that spectrum remains available for future applications. One organisation can obtain a maximum of 40 MHz. Only a legal entity can obtain a licence; it must prove both its link with the area covered by the licence, and its need for the requested frequency block.
As with all mobile communication, a mobile network code (MNC) is required. If no change to another network is needed (called ‘roaming’), shared MNCs will be allocated for free. If roaming is needed, there will be extra costs, and the organisation must prove it has a commercial roaming agreement with a mobile network operator before receiving the MNC.
The costs for spectrum include an application fee of 1000 euro and an index-linked annual fee of 318 euro per km2 per MHz.
Technical requirements still to be defined
Certain technical requirements are still being discussed at the European level, and are expected in March 2024. This will ensure that the same requirements will be applicable throughout the EU.
Beltug will keep you posted on developments, including as technical specifications become defined.
You can find the draft Royal Decree on the BIPT website (in FR and NL only)