2 min

Belgian Telecom Minister Petra de Sutter recently presented the new Belgian Telecom Law to parliament. The bill should give end users of telecom services more transparency.

According to the Minister responsible, the submitted bill brings Belgian Telecom law up to date. The previous law dated from the time of the rise of services such as WhatsApp and Messenger and was still behind the times when it came to regulation. The law must also anchor European regulations in the Belgian legislation.

Clearer invoices and contracts

The proposed law shows that especially customers of telecom services will benefit significantly in terms of rights. First of all, from now on, providers must summarize their invoices in a standard format or fact sheet. This means that the costs of calling after a certain hour and the costs of extra data may no longer be spread out on an invoice. This should give end-users better insight and transparency into the costs they incur.

Also, customers with a contract for both a device and a subscription will soon have better insight into the duration of their contract. From now on, customers with a two-year coupling contract will also be able to terminate their contract after six months. They will also be given the option of paying off the residual value of their handset more quickly.

Rates and protection against phishing

Another change is that providers must offer their customers the cheapest tariff in the first instance. This will give customers more insight into price fluctuations. Customers will also be able to use an email address with an old provider for a longer period with a new provider after switching. There will also be a paid option to use this address for longer than a maximum period of 18 months. Furthermore, a special code makes it easier to switch to another provider.

The new Belgian telecom law, De Sutter says, also contains further obligations for operators to protect their customers against phishing attacks. For this, they must apply special algorithms.

Furthermore, the law also provides regulations for minimum waiting times for helpdesks. Belgian telecom providers will soon also have to report malfunctions in messaging services such as WhatsApp and Messenger to telecom regulator BIPT.