Following the example of Germany and France in July 2003, Belgium has today recognised the direct effect of Directive 2002/20/EC.

The regulatory BIPT issued two "circulaires", which abolish the individual licensing requirement for operators of public telecommunications networks, as well as for operators of fixed and mobile telephony services.

Individual licensing is replaced by a simple notification requirement.

The reason for issuing these "circulaires" is that Belgium has not yet transposed the new EU regulatory framework for electronic communications into national law, thereby missing the deadline of 25 July 2003. The adoption of new legislation is not expected to be achieved for several months to come.

Both "circulaires" are quite lengthy, and specify in detail the legal basis at EU level and under Belgian law, and therefore have precedent value for other EU Member States which have not yet transposed the new EU regulatory framework.

The "circulaires" also specify the basic rights and obligations of newly notified operators (including interesting exceptions relating to rights-of-way over private property and relating to antenna mast sharing in view of the fact that these involve private persons/companies), and introduce a "notification fee" of €546, as well as annual fees, respectively €8.240 and €9.607.

The full text of the "circulaires" (in French, a Dutch version is also available) can be accessed by clicking on the links below:

Public Telecommunications Networks

Fixed and Mobile Telephony

Note: frequency and numbering resources remain subject to individual application procedures.

For a discussion of the implications of this development, please contact Yves Blondeel.