New player Digi promises 'unseen prices' for telecom in our country.

Telecom operator DIGI wants to enter the market with "prices never seen before in Belgium." That is what DIGI Belgium's top executive, Jeroen Degadt, said Thursday at the official opening of its new headquarters in Brussels. DIGI Belgium is a joint venture between Belgium's Citymesh, which offers telecom services to companies, and Romanian telecom group DIGI, which already operates in four European countries (in addition to Romania, Spain, Portugal and Italy) with a total of 24 million customers. Next summer, the operator will launch its offer in which it aims to "combine fair prices with a reliable network and quality customer service."

For now, Degadt is not really showing his cards. When exactly DIGI will launch its offering and how much its services will cost, he would not yet say. The top executive did promise that these will be "prices never seen before in Belgium".What is clear is that DIGI will immediately offer its mobile services throughout Belgium. It wants to achieve full mobile coverage with its own 4,500 antennas and is still looking for locations to do so, but in the meantime is renting the network of market leader Proximus. By the end of 2025, DIGI is aiming for 30 percent in-house coverage. "Three years later we want to reach 70 percent, to eventually lean close to 100 percent by the end of 2030," Degadt said.

DIGI has also begun rolling out a fiber optic network for fixed Internet. Currently, some 60,000 households in Brussels already have access to it. Initially, the operator will focus on city centers, but the schedule and further locations will depend on market conditions, it said. An announcement did mention "significant" fiber optic coverage by the end of 2028 as a target. Like competitors Proximus and Telenet - which are also rolling out fiber - DIGI said it is open to collaborations to increase the efficiency of its investments. " As an industry, we face many challenges and large investments in fiber and 5G and should think together about how to meet them," Degadt said. "DIGI has also demonstrated in other countries its ability to make deals with other players." In particular, the DIGI chief wants to share passive infrastructure, "such as waiting tubes so that streets only have to be opened once." That would lead to "less inconvenience for citizens and municipalities" and "better prices at DIGI."

The third player also wants to offer television with an "innovative interface," Degadt said. "We held talks with local and international content providers to find good deals." Indeed, according to DIGI, it is necessary to offer telecom packages because by far the majority of telecom products sold in Belgium - roughly 15 million out of 21 million - are in packs that inhibit customer turnover. By its own admission, DIGI will be able to offer its services at lower prices because it is betting on internal recruitment and development of services. "We have our own technicians, customer service and software. This allows you to manage not only costs but also quality, and that sets us apart from others," Degadt stressed. Currently, DIGI Belgium already employs about 100 people, while the company would aim for some 300 by the end of this year.

The fact that DIGI can start from a clean slate also helps keep prices lower, according to Degadt. The operator can fully focus on a fiber network, which is more sustainable and energy efficient than a traditional copper network. "We are fortunate not to have to maintain old networks," he referred to Proximus and Telenet.The need for lower prices in the Belgian telecom market was emphasized by competent minister Petra De Sutter at the opening of the new headquarters. "Prices remain too high in Belgium, especially for fixed Internet and TV," the Green politician said. "That is why we have opened the door for a fourth player in the 5G auction."

According to Valentin Popoviciu, board member of the Romanian group DIGI, "we will very soon see the results" of the new player's entry into the market. He referred to European price comparisons that show that customers in countries with three telecom operators pay much more for both mobile services and fixed Internet than in countries with four operators.

More news...

Brussels - The ball is in the court, Jeroen Degadt will become the General Manager of telecom operator DIGI Belgium. After previous successful launches in Romania, Italy, Spain and Portugal, Jeroen will lead the Belgian expansion. And he could use some help with that. In the coming months, there will be more than 100 vacancies at DIGI Belgium. All the more reason to get inside Jeroen's head. 

DIGI Belgium, the new and fourth mobile operator in our country, concludes a national roaming agreement with Proximus and acquires antenna sites. This facilitates Digi's launch in 2024.