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Belgian regulator suspends Orange Belgium, Proximus joint venture

The Belgian Competition Authority ordered the suspension of a sharing agreement between Orange Belgium SA and Proximus due to potential competition concerns.

Under a November 2019 agreement, the Belgian operators will form a joint venture for a shared mobile access network.

The authority's order is based on a request from Telenet and Telenet BVBA and means the JV is postponed until March 16.

The Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications, or BIPT, will examine changes to the agreement and ensure the parties stick to any commitments made to protect competition. The Orange SA unit and Proximus are allowed to conduct preparatory measures during the suspension period.

Orange and Proximus are required to inform the Competition College and the Investigation and Prosecution Service about the operators' discussions with the BIPT by March 9.

The companies acknowledged the Belgian regulator's decision and said the mobile access agreement's benefits include "faster and more extensive" deployment of 5G.