Third Palestinian mobile network concession up for grabs by 2013?

7 Apr 2010

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has revealed that it will look to issue a third mobile voice concession in 2013, should Israel open the necessary frequencies for such a sale, Reuters reports. The Palestinian telecommunications minister, Mashour Abu Dagga, has said that he believes the country’s wireless sector could support a third player, claiming that the introduction of further competition would enhance call quality whilst lowering prices. Bidding is expected to open in 2012, if the process is able to avoid issues related to the obtaining of the spectrum needed to offer such a licence.

At present there are two Palestinian mobile network operators, Palestine Cellular Telecommunications Company (Palcel) and Wataniya Palestine. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database the former, a subsidiary of fixed line incumbent Palestine Telecommunications Company (Paltel), is the market leader, and at end-December 2009 had approximately 1.7 million subscribers, giving it a market share of just under 68%. Wataniya meanwhile, which only launched commercially in November last year, had signed up 110,835 at that date, giving it a 4.4% of the market. The remaining mobile subscribers in Palestine are signed up to Israel-based cellcos, including Partner Communications, Cellcom and Pelephone.