Paul van Gerven
1 October 2019

The newly formed Flemish government wants the region to become a leading player in the digital transformation, artificial intelligence and big data. To that end, getting a 5G network up and running is considered a priority, political parties N-VA, CD&V and Open VLD state in their coalition agreement presented yesterday. “This will enable technology that will make Flanders healthier, which will help save energy or which will support new robotics applications,” it says in a summary of the agreement.

The 5G network is a bit of a hot potato in Belgium, as regional and national governing bodies haven’t been able to agree on how the proceeds of the radio spectrum auction should be distributed. Only after the parties have come to an agreement, the auction can proceed.

According to newspaper De Tijd, however, the Flemish government doesn’t want to wait for that any longer and intends to seek a deal with telecom operators to accelerate the roll-out of 5G infrastructure in Flanders. Federal Telecom secretary Philippe De Backer is skeptical about the legality of such an arrangement.