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5G

Proximus looks beyond COVID-19

Proximus launched a four-pronged strategy that sets out its vision of a future that, all being well, will have firmly moved on from the current coronavirus pandemic. Notably, the operator said it intends to provide 5G services as of tomorrow (April 1).

While stressing the need to cope with the ongoing crisis by supporting employees and customers, the Belgian operator is attempting to strike an optimistic note, presenting its strategic vision for the future using the #inspire2022 strapline.

Based on four main pillars, the strategy sets out operational and financial targets for the coming five years, with a focus on 5G and fiber network expansion, digital transformation, a return to profitable growth, and sustainability and digital inclusion.

Notwithstanding COVID-19, the past year has been challenging for the former Belgian incumbent. It instigated a redundancy program, and also reported a 1.7% decline in underlying domestic revenue for 2019. Furthermore, changes at the helm have hardly gone smoothly, with Dominique Leroy leaving under a cloud and new CEO Guillaume Boutin also reportedly coming under scrutiny.

Proximus clearly wants to put a line under all this, with ambitious goals to pass an additional 1 million homes by 2026 compared to the original plan, and connecting 2.4 million homes to fiber by 2025 rather than 2030. 5G is to be launched in 30 communes on April 1, using existing spectrum holdings.

In terms of operational transformation, the operator aims to be a "legacy-free operator in terms of IT by 2025" and is targeting an average yearly net indirect opex reduction of between -1% to -2% (CAGR) from 2020 to 2022. From a financial perspective it wants to get back to profitable growth by 2022, supported by the objective of increasing the customer base to over 2.1 million Internet lines.

Boutin summed up the overall plan: "In the next couple of years, we will massively invest to roll out the next generation of networks at an industrial pace, structurally transform our operating model and accelerate the pace of customer innovation."

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— Anne Morris, Contributing Editor, Light Reading

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