Israel’s third largest mobile operator Pelephone said yesterday that it plans to launch a third-generation (3G) mobile service in the second half of this year using CDMA2000 1x EV-DO technology supplied by Samsung. The company’s principal rivals in the Israeli mobile market, Partner Communications and Cellcom, are also expected to introduce high speed mobile services later this year in a country where cellular penetration in running at over 80%. Pelephone had around 1.91 million subscribers at the end of 2003, putting it behind market leader Cellcom with 2.28 million and Partner with 2.1 million. Fourth-placed cellco MIRS had an estimated 230,000. Pelephone is a subsidiary of Bezeq Israel Telecom which last month moved to buy the 50% stake of the cellco it did not already own from Shamrock Holdings, California.