Another Israeli company has announced its intention to enter the country’s wireless sector, with international calls carrier 018 Xfone Communications revealing that it has applied for a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licence. According to Globes Online, 018 Xfone follows in the footsteps of Telecom 365, a subsidiary of the Hamashbir retail group, the Israel Postal Company and Free Telecom, which is owned by Shlomo Shmeltzer, the controlling shareholder in Israel Shipyards. The decision by 018 Xfone to apply for a virtual operator concession falls in line with plans previously announced by Hezi Bezalel, who promised to enter the wireless sector in March 2010, when he bought the company for USD6.5 million; 018 Xfone is now a subsidiary of Bezalel’s Marathon Telecom.
While both Telecom 365 and Free Telecom have received their MVNO licences, a number of other applicants have yet to be awarded with theirs. However, even the duo that have received their concessions look set to face a delay before they can enter the sector, with the Ministry of Communications still yet to announce the tariffs that will underpin negotiations between virtual operators and their prospective carriers, and with the latter reportedly blocking negotiations and refusing to allow MVNOs access to their networks.