Israeli international telephony provider Xfone Communications has received approval from the Communications Ministry to trial IP telephony, according to Reuters. The Israeli regulator is taking a cautious approach to the introduction of VoIP, issuing permission for the launch of trial services to just a handful of alternative operators. In January 2006 012 Golden Lines had its temporary permit upgraded to become the country’s first commercial VoIP concession. Two months later cellco Pelephone was handed a test licence to provide VoIP services to up to 8,500 residential and business customers for a year.
A major debate on the regulation of VoIP services was due to take place in January 2006, but the hearing was postponed due to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s ill health. The debate has yet to be rescheduled and under new Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, VoIP is currently some way from the top of the agenda.