Telecommunications in Belgium


Telecommunications in Belgium

Communications in Belgium are extensive and advanced. Belgium possesses the infrastructure for both mobile and land-based telecom, as well as having significant television, radio and internet infrastructure. The country code for Belgium is BE.

Contents

Services

Mail

Mail regulation is a national competency. Postal service in Belgium is in many cases performed by Belgian Post Group, a semi-privat public company which has as a monopoly on letters until 50g weight. Competitors include DHL and UPS.

Postal codes in Belgium consist of four digits which indicate regional areas, e.g. "9000" is the postal code for Ghent.

Telephone

The telephone system itself is highly developed and technologically advanced, with full automation in facilities that handle domestic and international telecom. Domestically speaking, the county has a nationwide cellular telephone system and an extensive network of telephone cables. Telephone regulation is a national competency.

The country code for Belgium is 32 and the international call prefix is 00.

A telephone number in Belgium is a sequence of nine or ten numbers dialled on a telephone to make a call on the telephone network in Belgium. Belgium is under a closed telephone numbering plan, but retains the trunk code, "0", for all national dialling.

Fixed telephones

There were 4.668 million land telephone lines in use in Belgium in 2007, a slight decrease on the 4.769 million in use in 1997.

The majority state-owned public telephone company of Belgium is Belgacom. Some other or private operators exist, as Scarlet (Belgacom) and BASE (KPN).

Mobile telephones

Mobile telephone ownership has increased by nearly one thousand percent in the period 1997-2007, from 974,494 to 10.23 million.

There are three licensed mobile network operators (MNO) in Belgium, Proximus (Belgacom), Mobistar (France Télécom) and BASE (KPN) and numerous mobile virtual network operators (MVNO).

A fourth license will be auctioned of by the government in January 2010.

Radio and Television

Radio and television regulation are regional competencies.

Radio

In 1998, Belgium had 79 FM radio stations, 7 AM stations and 1 SW station, serving 8.075 million radios owned in the country.

Transmission is primary by terrestrial broadcast antenna. Analoque transmissions are provided by Norkring Belgium, Broadcast Partners, D'Hont Noël and TVVV Sound. Digital transmissions are provided by Norkring Belgium. Digital cable operators and internet providers also provide radio signals. Satellite transmission is provided by TV Vlaanderen.

Public radio in Belgium is controlled by the VRT for the Dutch speaking region (Flanders and Brussels) the RTBF for the French speaking region (Wallonia and Brussels) and the BRF for the German community in Belgium.

Numerous private operators exist. The main competitor in the Flanders and Brussels regions is VMMa. The main competitor in the Wallonia and Brussels regions is RTL Group.

Next to these regional channels, local channels exists. E.g. Radio 2 Limburg and GO FM.

In 2009 radio market share in the Dutch speaking region was 63.08 % for the VRT channels (Radio 1, Radio 2, MNM, Studio Brussel and Klara, 23.13 % for the VMMa channels (Q-Music and Joe FM) and 2.65 % for the Corelio/Concentra joint venture channel (Radio Nostalgie).

Publicity management

Radio advertising is managed in house in most cases. Two radio advertising agencies operate, Vlaamse Audiovisuele Regie and IP Plurimedia.

Intellectual property rights

Intellectual property rights in Belgium are managed by SABAM.

Television

Transmission is primary by fiberoptic or coax cable network (DVB-C) or copper telephone line (xDSL). Terrestrial transmission (DVB-T) also exists. In terms of television, there were 25 broadcast stations in 1997, and a further 10 repeaters. This digital terrestrial network is owned by Norking Belgium. Small operators of analog networks exist. Satellite transmission (DVB-S) in Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia is operated by Airfield Belgium or Digidream. MNO's Proximus and Mobistar offer digital television over mobile phone (DVB-H).

In 1997, 4.72 million televisions were owned nationwide.

Public television in Belgium is controlled by the VRT for the Dutch speaking region (Flanders and Brussels) the RTBF for the French speaking region (Wallonia and Brussels) and the BRF for the German community in Belgium.

Numerous private operators exist. The main competitors in the Flanders and Brussels regions are VMMa, SBS Belgium and Media ad Infinitum. VMMa is a joint venture of De Persgroep and Roularta Media Group. The main competitors in the Wallonia and Brussels regions are RTL Group and AB Groupe.

Next to these regional channels, local channels exists. E.g. TV Oost and ROB TV.

In Flanders, VRT channels Een, Ketnet/Canvas) had a combined market share of 40.0 % in 2008, VMMa channels (VTM, 2BE and JIM) 27.27 %, SBS Belgium channels (VT4 and Vijf TV) 10.91 % and Media ad Infinitum (Vitaya and Vitaliteit) 3,64 %.

Content providers

There are numerous public and private media companies that specialise as producer or distributor of channels, content and video services. E.g. Studio 100 and Woestijnvis.

Production facility providers

There are numerous public and private media companies that specialise as producer or distributor of television production facilities. E.g. Alfacam and Videohouse.

Publicity management

Radio advertising is managed in house in most cases. Four radio advertising agencies operate, Vlaamse Audiovisuele Regie, RMB, RTVM and ORR.

Intellectual property rights

Intellectual property rights in Belgium are managed by SABAM.

Printed press

Major newspapers and magazines in Belgium are printed monolingual either in Dutch or in French. Bilingual publications are very minor.

Belgium's major news agency is Belga (news agency). Minor news agencies exist. Belgium's major photo agencies are Isopix and Photo News.

Important distributors in Belgium are AMP, Deltamedia, Belgian Post Group, Belgische Distributiedienst and Press Shop.

Press advertising is managed in house in most cases. Private advertising agencies operate, e.g. Scripta, IP Plurimedia or Mediashake.

Newspapers

Major Dutch-language daily newspapers in 2008 are Het Laatste Nieuws (De Persgroep) (30.96 %), Het Nieuwsblad (Corelio) (27.04 %), Gazet van Antwerpen (Concentra) (11.27 %), Het Belang van Limburg (Concentra) (10.71 %), De Standaard (Corelio) (9.95 %), De Morgen (De Persgroep) (5.99 %) and De Tijd (Mediafin) (4.08 %). Mediafin is a joint venture of De Persgroep and Groupe Rossel.

Major French-language daily newspapers in 2008 are La Dernière Heure (IPM) (16.1 %), Le Soir (Groupe Rossel) (16.0 %), Vers l'Avenir (Corelio) (15.8 %), La Libre Belgique (IPM) (8.3 %), L'Echo (Mediafin) (3.7 %) and La Meuse (newspaper) (Groupe Rossel), La Capitale (Groupe Rossel), La Nouvelle Gazette (Groupe Rossel), La Province (Groupe Rossel) and Nord Eclair (Groupe Rossel) (22.0 %).

The only major German-language daily newspaper in 2008 is Grenz Echo (Groupe Rossel).

Metro (Belgian newspaper) (Concentra) is a major daily free newspaper in a Dutch and French edition.

Magazines

Major Dutch-language weekly magazines in 2008 are Kerk en Leven (Drukkerij en Uitgeverij Halewijn) (409,817), Dag Allemaal (402,097), HUMO (227,614), Libelle (magazine) (Sanoma Belgium) (216,506), TV-Blad (158,283), Story (Belgian magazine) (Sanoma Belgium) (159,833), Plus Magazine (Belgium) (134,242), TV-Familie/Blik (129,328), Flair (magazine) (Sanoma Belgium) (126,831), Knack (magazine) (Roularta Media Group) (126,646), Trends (magazine) (Roularta Media Group), 't Pallieterke, ... .

Major French-language weekly magazines in 2008 are Trends/Tendance (Roularta Media Group), Le Vif/L'Express (Roularta Media Group), Télé Moustique (Sanoma Belgium), Femmes d'Aujourd'hui (Sanoma Belgium), ... .

Numerous by-weekly and montly magazines exist. E.g. Eos Magazine and P-Magazine.

Internet

There were 61 (2003) internet service providers in Belgium, serving 5.22 million internet users in 2007. The country code for Belgian websites is .be.

In September 2009 in Flanders there were 3.048.260 single broadband internet customers (DSL and cable), of which 2.520.481 were residential users and 527.779 business users. Only 65.175 single call in-lines remained in the residential market and 9.580 in the business market.

Internet providers

xDSL Internet Providers

Belgium has numerous copper cable internet providers:

Only Belgacom currently offers fixed telephony and digital television in a triple play formula. All other companies offer also fixed telephony in a duo play formula.

Cable Internet Providers

Belgium has three major fiberglas cable internet providers:

  • Numéricable for the Brussels region (Ypso Holding)
  • Telenet for the Flanders and Brussels regions (Liberty Global)
  • VOO for the Walloon and Brussels regions (TECTEO)

These companies all offer fixed telephony and digital television in a triple play formula.

These companies all offer specialised services.

Terrestrial Internet Providers
Satellite Internet Providers
Not categorized

Other ISP are Chat.be, Combell, Connexeon, HostIT, Microsoft Belgium, Netlog, Ulysse, Ven Brussels, Rack66 (EUSIP bvba), WSD Hosting.

Popular websites

The most popular internet websites accessed from a Belgian ISP in 2008 are:

  1. google.be
  2. facebook.com
  3. live.com
  4. youtube.com
  5. google.com
  6. skyrock.com
  7. msn.com
  8. yahoo.com
  9. netlog.com
  10. google.fr
  11. ebay.be
  12. wikipedia.org
  13. dailymotion.com
  14. blogger.com
  15. partypoker.com

Other

The microwave relay network is, however, more limited. For international communications, Belgium has 5 submarine cables and a number of satellite earth stations, two of which are Intelsat, and one Eutelsat.

Media Groups

In 2009 Belgium has 20 major media companies active in numerous telecommunications media subsectors.[1] These are:

References

  1. ^ Vlaamse Regulator voor de Media, Mediaconcentratie in Vlaanderen rapport 2009, Vlaamse overheid, Brussel, 2009

External links

Much of the material in this article is adapted from the CIA World Factbook.


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