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Citymesh and DIGI win spectrum in the auction and will start building a nationwide network

21/06/2022

Citymesh, part of the IT-group Cegeka and RCS & RDS, the Romanian subsidiary of DIGI Communications N.V. (DIGI), an EU telecommunications group, win the new entrant spectrum package in the 5G-auction and will start the build of a new (4th) national mobile network.

This will create two new mobile offerings on the market, for both residential and business users, on a new state-of-the-art mobile network, increasing competition and quality of services.

Through this cooperation, Citymesh is not only strengthening its position as operator in the business market, but, together with DIGI, plans to reshape the playing field in the Belgian telecommunications landscape.

Citymesh and DIGI are announcing the news after the publication of the Belgium 5G-spectrum auction results by the BIPT.

Citymesh as 4th operator for the B2B market

“Citymesh already delivers mobile services to the business market. Thanks to the additional spectrum and the new nationwide mobile network, Citymesh can start offering a hybrid mobile strategy, roaming from private to a public network and back. This while ensuring end-to-end security and quality,” states Mitch De Geest, CEO of Citymesh. “Connectivity within private business networks can now be extended with the seamless transition to a national public network.”

Companies without their own mobile private network can also become a customer with operator Citymesh. They can rely on a performant 5G-network, business oriented service desk and concepts like the bundling of data traffic over all employees.

“It is our ambition to realize an innovative telecom offering to the business market, ranging from simple mobile subscriptions all the way to complex mobile private networks. With the possibilities that 5G offers, there are lots of opportunities for a player with a strict industrial telecom focus” continues Mitch De Geest.

For IT-group Cegeka, the mother company behind Citymesh, this investment is perfectly aligned with the strategic ambitions to further realize the synergy between IT and telecom. “The combination between IT and telecom offers great opportunities for our customers across all markets. The investments in a mobile operator that focuses on 5G is the capstone for the trinity of innovation: Cloud, AI and 5G, in which we at Cegeka truly believe. In addition, Cegeka can now further offer "Security As a Service" up to network level through an ultra-reliable environment provided by the Citymesh 5G network” says Stijn Bijnens, CEO van Cegeka.

DIGI opens up the consumer market

For the consumer market in Belgium, DIGI’s entrance means more competition and diversity of communication, content and additional services, from which Belgian consumers will directly benefit.

"After Romania, Spain, Italy and Portugal (where we also won new entrant spectrum in 2021), we are excited to start with the preparations for the build of a new generation network and to provide a consumer offering in Belgium as well. Further details will be announced later this year. We are confident that we will soon be able to offer high-quality communications and services at affordable prices" says Valentin Popoviciu, Vice-President of DIGI.

Joint Venture between Citymesh and DIGI builds nationwide 5G-network

To make the most out of the additional spectrum that was granted to Citymesh and DIGI, thousands of mobile telecom sites will need to be realized. This is a huge investment for Citymesh as a B2B operator. Therefore, Citymesh is bundling its strengths with DIGI in a joint venture. This joint venture follows the trend where two operators roll-out a joint national 4G/5G-infrastructure, while pursuing their own market approach.

High-performance coverage of cities and rural areas, but also rail- and highway infrastructure will be the cornerstone of this venture. Jointly building this network will ensure energy and cost-efficient roll-out which eventually will benefit the entire society and customer base.

"Our goal is to build the best, highest performing 4G/5G network in the country. Because we start from a blank sheet, we have the opportunity to take advantage of the technological advances of 5G from the start and can optimally plan the rollout" says Mitch De Geest, CEO of Citymesh.

DIGI has the necessary experience to help support the joint venture's ambitious plans, both from the construction and high standards operations of the network, which is why both parties will act quickly to meet the national coverage requirements.

To realize all of the above, the quest for new colleagues has already begun. Check out all vacancies on “http://www.thenewnetwork.be

About Citymesh

Citymesh, part of the European IT Group Cegeka, specializes in the development and management of large-scale wireless networks based on a wide range of technologies. The company not only has broad expertise in Wi-Fi and IoT, but is also a Belgian operator with a 4G and 5G license.

Citymesh pioneers in the development of smart communication and data platforms within various sectors. The company supports over 75 cities, more than 10 exhibition halls, major industrial companies (such as Port of Zeebrugge and Brussels Airport) and Belgian railroads in building a smart infrastructure that combines WiFi, 5G, sensors and data visualization.

Within the rapidly growing market of mission-critical communications, Citymesh builds unique 5G private networks to support automation in (air) ports, healthcare, warehouses, logistics and other industrial sectors. In addition to rolling out a customer-commissioned infrastructure, Citymesh invests in rolling out its own networks in niche markets, such as offshore wind turbines, drone communications and 5G for smart cities.

About DIGI

DIGI is one of Europe's leading operators in converged electronic communications, with operations in Romania, Spain, Italy and Portugal, having more than 18,7 million customer relationships (RGU’s, Q1 2022). DIGI (through its subsidiary RCS & RDS S.A.) is the leader of the fixed internet, pay-TV and fixed telephony services segments, by market share, in Romania, covering with fiber networks around 90% of the houses and with mobile (4G) more than 99,5 % of the population. Digi is deploying 5G networks and services, with live service since 2019 (Romania, soon to come in Portugal). In Spain, DIGI is the 5th operator on the market in number of customers/services, with more than 3,9 million RGU’s in the first quarter of 2022.

The company owns extensive state-of-the-art fiber optic networks as well as high-performance mobile networks and has more than 25 years of know-how in network design, construction and direct operation. DIGI's services combine quality with affordability for all consumer groups. DIGI group also offers its Romanian subscribers a comprehensive range of content.

The Group's total revenues amounted to € 1.5 billion in 2021 and currently has more than 19.000 employees.

ADDENDUM

Spectrum: The set of radio frequencies available to transmit signals. These radio signals are used for e.g. 2G, 3G, 4G and/or 5G technology. The right to use specific frequencies is assigned to operators by the BIPT, via an auction procedure.

Lower frequencies penetrate materials or buildings more easily. Higher frequencies can transmit more data, but do not penetrate obstacles, such as walls, as easily.

Citymesh won a package of frequencies in the auction that was reserved by the BIPT for the candidate who applied as a full-fledged operator. It concerns spectrum in the following frequency bands: 700MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz. In addition, Citymesh also secured spectrum in the 3.5GHz band in the regular frequency auction. In 2021, Citymesh also bought the last available rights in the 2600MHz band.

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