European IT company Cegeka and Belgian telecoms operator Citymesh are joining forces to form the fourth national operator, both parties announced today. ‘Thanks to this strategic partnership, we will be able to accelerate expansion, roll out new innovations and achieve true integration of 5G in the B2B market, say Stijn Bijnens, CEO of Cegeka, and Mitch De Geest, CEO of Citymesh.

This strategic partnership between Cegeka and Citymesh represents a unique connectivity opportunity for the industry. Both parties emphasize the need for the development of more mobile connectivity solutions in the industry, as well as for custom solutions for companies. ‘This partnership meets that requirement by offering real convergence between telecom and IT. In this respect, our two companies complement each other very well,’ says Stijn Bijnens. ‘By joining forces, we are creating the fourth national operator or, in other words, the first real industrial operator’.

Unique market position

This move puts Cegeka and Citymesh in a unique position in the B2B market, offering an opportunity to develop integrated end-to-end solutions, tailored to the needs of companies. ‘Citymesh has been specializing in wireless connectivity for the past 15 years. This connectivity ensures that our customers’ applications can run smoothly, reliably and securely,’ Mitch De Geest explains. Cegeka acknowledges that seamless connectivity is crucial to its IT solutions, Cloud and hosting services and applications. ‘In this case, one plus one makes so much more than three’, Stijn Bijnens emphasizes.

‘Citymesh will operate as our connectivity partner within the Cegeka group. Gridmax, the Walloon operator that was acquired by Cegeka in the first half of 2020 and which also holds a 5G licence, will be integrated into Citymesh,’ Stijn Bijnens clarifies.

Cooperation with a focus on the 5G revolution

For some time now, Cegeka and Citymesh have been strongly committed to becoming the fourth operator for the B2B market. The further development of the 5G network plays a prominent role in this ambition. The real power of private 5G networks for the B2B market lies in infrastructure virtualization, AI tools driven by Edge, and Cloud infrastructure. ‘Cegeka is the market leader in these fields, which enables us to offer state-of-the-art 5G networks together,’ Mitch De Geest says.

To date, 5G has already been a great success in the international offshore market, in which Citymesh plays an important role. The company provides 5G grids that support the construction, maintenance and monitoring of offshore wind farms. These include operational 5G networks in the Belgian, Dutch and German North Sea, as well as in the United States.

Preparing for a shared future

Citymesh has long aspired to take on the role of fourth operator, as is evident from its investments in 4G and 5G licences, its MVNO deal with Proximus and its existing solutions for offshore wind, industry and enterprise, the public sector and the entertainment market. ‘This extensive partnership will provide Citymesh with the resources it needs to strengthen its position as the fourth operator. This will be achieved both through strategic acquisitions and by accelerating the rollout of mobile private networks in different markets,’ Mitch De Geest says.

Changes in share capital structure

As of this development, Cegeka acquires a majority stake in Citymesh. Part of the shares will remain in the hands of the sustainable energy company Nuhma, established in Limburg, and Citymesh’s management. Two of the first shareholders, Michel Akkermans and Jurgen Ingels, are leaving the company. The current leadership, with Mitch De Geest as CEO, will continue to oversee day-to-day operational management.

‘We would like to sincerely thank all our shareholders, and in particular our chairman of the board, Michel Akkermans, and Jurgen Ingels, for their trust, commitment and support,’ says Mitch De Geest.