Israeli mobile operator Pelephone Communications has been granted a licence to trial domestic voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services. Under the terms of the concession Pelephone, a subsidiary of fixed line incumbent Bezeq, may provide VoIP services to up to 8,500 residential and business customers for a year. Of the companies to have been granted a test license, only 012 Golden Lines has made the step up to offering commercial VoIP services. In January it became the first service provider in Israel to be granted a full licence to provide VoIP, following successful trial services to 7,500 customers.
Regulations regarding the provision of VoIP services were outlined by the Ministry of Communications in a policy paper in November 2004. According to the paper VoIP services may be provided under a special general licence, with operators paying an interconnection fee to Bezeq; operators are not required to pay for the use of the incumbent’s network. Bezeq itself will only be allowed to offer VoIP services after 1 May 2007, or when its fixed line market share falls below 85%, whichever is soonest.