Our guide to choosing television, telephone, mobile and internet providers in Belgium and getting your house connected to communication services.
There is a wide choice of providers and competition in the Belgian communications market, with plenty of choice when it comes to setting up your telephone, television, mobile and internet in Belgium. Many companies are diversifying, and now offer combined packages offering all your Belgian communication services for one competitive fee.
Television licences in Belgium
Television and radio licences have been scrapped in Flanders and Brussels, but in Wallonia you will need to pay an annual licence fee of EUR 100 – paid per household, not per television set. You can do this by filing a ‘declaration’ at your local branch of the Fiscalité du Service Public de Wallonie (Walloon Tax Administration) within 60 days. You can download the form and send it via mail, email or fax to:
- Avenue Gouverneur Bovesse, 29-5100 Legs
- 081 330 201 (fax)
Wallonia operates an unusual system for the annual payment of licences, determined by a person’s surname. Those with surnames beginning with A–J must pay in April while those with surnames beginning with K–Z must pay in October. Read more about the licence conditions and processes at www.wallonie.be.
Television providers and channels in Belgium
Each region manages its own public broadcaster – the Flemish VRT, French RTBF and German BRF. Analogue broadcasts are being replaced by digital services, and in some regions, already obsolete.
Almost all households are served by cable television. It is broadcast by three separate organisations, French, Dutch and German, with some foreign channels also provided. Telenet, Numericable and Belgacom/Proximus TV are leading cable television providers, though many offer hundreds of channels with plenty of English options and competitive prices. BBC, CNN, National Geographic, Discovery Channel and Disney are common channels in cable television packages. Some local television providers include Tele Bruxelles, VTM and BeTV. The choice of channels may vary: The Dutch-speaking channels transmit anglophone films, documentaries, series, and sit-coms in their original version whilst the French channels usually dub.
Television with English programming:
- Belgian channels: Kanaal 2, Ketnet/Canvas, VTM, VT4, VRT-TV1
- Dutch channels: Holland 1, Holland 2, Holland 3
- International: BBC 1 and 2, BBC World, CNN International, CNBC, Euro News, Euro Sport, MTV Europe, BeTV requires a decoder, see www.betv.be.
Cable television in Belgium
Belgium is one of the most cabled countries in the world with almost all households subscribing to some form of pay-TV. When this process began there were many region-specific cable operators, with a count of almost 20 in 2006. This number has fallen drastically with consolidation in the industry arising from larger companies buying out many of the smaller ones.
Most of the TV cable companies also offer internet connection via the cable, so it’s a good idea to shop around, although you may find that one company dominates in your area and your choice is limited. You may be able to arrange to connect your house, and optic fiber cable may even be offered in some areas.
There is also a growing number of on-demand, streaming media platforms for viewing foreign television programmes, such as Netflix, which entered Belgium in 2014. Availability is heavily dependent on the quality of your internet connection, something worth bearing in mind before subscribing. If you aren’t particularly interested in live television and just want some shows from home, streaming is a good option.
Satellite television is available from several companies and some providers also offer Sky from the UK. The set-up charge can be hefty depending on your situation, as Sky is not allowed to market its product on the continent because of licencing agreements.
Satellite TV providers in Belgium
Satellite television is also available and some providers offer Sky from the UK. The set-up charge can be relatively hight as Sky does not have a licence agreement to market its product on the continent.
- Tv From Home: 0485 387 402 | tvfromhome.be
- Sky TV in Belgium: +44 207 100 9165 | www.storesatellite.com
Setting up phone and internet in Belgium
Belgacom is the leading provider of domestic telephone lines and internet, although a variety of companies are entering the market or diversifying their services by offering package deals.
To start the process, however, you must first get a fixed line installed by Belgacom, after which you can change to any communications provider. You can then also register internet and WiFi services that are either unlimited or based on a fixed data usage per month. You can find a list of providers on the Belgian ISP Association (www.ispa.be).
Some providers focus on telephony or internet services, such as Belgian Telecom, IP Nexia and Mondial Telecom, but the main providers generally offer packages combining telephone, internet, television and mobile, such as Belgacom, Numericable, Telenet and Voo.
Main telephone suppliers:
Major cable television, internet and phone providers in Belgium
Many companies offer package deals combining internet, television, landline, and increasingly mobile, though some are specialist providers. See their websites for details and offers, or to see whether their services are available in your area.
- Orange | 02 2 745 71 11 | www.orange.be
- Mobile Vikings | 02 78 353 033 | www.vikingco.com
- Lycamobile | 08 00 49 811 | www.lycamobile.be
- Belgacom | 0800 55 800 | www.belgacom.be
- Billi | 022 900 900 | www.billi.be
- Cybernet | 04 270 4700 | www.cybernet.be
- Dommel | 01 192 0000 | lianka.schedom-europe.net
- EDP Net | 03 265 6700 | www.edpnet.be
- Numéricable | 02 226 5200 | www.numericable.be
- Scarlet | 0800 84 000 | www.scarlet.be
- Telenet | 0800 66 046 | www.telenet.be
- TV From Home | 0485 387 402 | tvfromhome.be
- Voo | 0800 800 25 | www.voo.be
Mobile phone providers in Belgium
When it comes to mobile phones, there are three main providers to choose from – Base, Mobistar and Belgacom/Proximus – although mobile services are increasingly being included in combination deals, such as those offered by Telenet.
A telecoms law in 2012 gave more power for users to change providers mid-contract and take advantage of new deals, and innovative new packages are sprouting up to attract new clients. Mobile deals include fixed contracts, rechargeable or pay as you go.