Koninklijke PTT Nederland and the UK's Orange have won the licence to run Belgium's third mobile telephone network.
The KPN-Orange consortium will pay a concession fee of BelFr8 billion to the Belgian state for the right to operate the network, which will use DCS-1800 technology.
"In-depth examination of the KPN candidature has shown it to fully satisfy the four qualification criteria imposed - financial support, technical and operational expertise, financial and commercial forecasts, and project management," the Belgian communications ministry said in a statement.
KPN-Orange was the only candidate for the licence.
It will launch commercially on 1 April 1999 and by 1 October 1999 will cover 92 per cent of the national territory and 97 per cent of the population via 1,500 antenna sites.
"The average level of tariffs, evaluated on the basis of a representative tariff basket of the mobile telephone market, will be substantially below the present level of prices on the Belgian market," Orange said.
The third operator will compete with national telco Belgacom's Proximus service and France Telecom's Mobistar.
The overall Belgian market has more than one million subscribers, against 128,000 in 1994, and is growing at 100 per cent a year.
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