July 11 (Reuters) - Proximus and Orange Belgium said on Thursday they had agreed to create a joint venture to build a shared mobile access network to speed up the roll-out of 5G in Belgium.
The operators said the network will improve coverage, with the combined number of mobile sites expected to be about 20% higher then the existing separate radio access network.
By sharing parts of the mobile network access infrastructure, operators can increase efficiency and ensure sustainable investments in new network technologies, they said.
Subject to the signing of a final agreement, which is expected by the end of the year, the network will be planned, built and operated by a new 50-50 owned joint venture.
The venture is expected to deliver cumulative operating and capital expenditure savings of 300 million euros ($337 million) over 10 years, Orange Belgium said, adding that the initial set-up costs would be 130 million euros over three years.
Orange Belgium said the expected return over 10 years is more than three times its weighted average cost of capital. ($1 = 0.8893 euros) (Reporting by Piotr Lipinski; Editing by Alexander Smith)