4.5G rollout stepped up in Belgium, but Brussels lags behind

The development of the 4.5G continues in Belgium, with Proximus announcing on Friday that it was pursuing its deployment in Charleroi, Anvers and Ghent, where the mobile broadband network was launched in February on a few antennas.

Telenet and Orange are also gradually making this technology available to their clients. However, Brussels will not benefit fully from it right away because of its stringent standards for the emissions of GSM antennas.

The 4.5G is an intermediate step between the 4G+, deployed in 2015 in Belgium’s big cities, and the 5G, which is not expected before 2020. It should allow users to enjoy maximum download speeds of 900Mbps, whereas the 4G and 4G+ have top speeds of 150 Mbps and 225 Mbps, Proximus explains. This technology should make it possible to keep up with a data flow that has been increasing exponentially. Some experts forecast that data use in the European Union could well increase tenfold over current volumes, according to the service provider.

“At the U2 concert in Brussels, for example, an enormous use of mobile data was noted, particularly for Facebook Live,” Proximus spokesman Haroun Fenaux said, adding that over 1 terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) of data was used within four hours, 90% of it via 4G.

The 4.5G allows bandwidth-hungry applications such as 2k and 4k video, 360-degree video and virtual or enhanced reality to function better. Films can be downloaded in seconds and surfing is super-fast.

The city centres of Charleroi, Anvers and Ghent are first in line for the 4.5G rollout. Other cities such as Liège or Namur are to follow in the coming months, according to the service provider. Only customers with smartphones that support 4.5G can use this network.

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