MTIT claims cellcos are losing USD120 million a year to Israeli cellcos

29 Sep 2010

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Telecom and Information Technology (MTIT) the country’s telecoms sector is losing around USD120 million per year to Israeli operators, itp.net reports. The regulator has claimed that mobile operators in Israel are continuing to offer 2G and 3G services in both the West Bank and Gaza, constructing base stations at the borders of its territories. The issue, the MTIT says, is further exacerbated as a result of Palestinian operators not being able to operate in ‘Area C’, the largest area of the West Bank. Mashhour Abudaka, Palestine’s communications minister, noted: ‘Palestinian operators are forced to make agreements with the Israeli operators to cover Area C, but the Israeli operators do not roam to the Palestinian operators, because they already cover all of the West Bank and Gaza.’

Further, the minister argued that Palestine’s two domestic cellcos, Palestine Cellular Telecommunications Company (Palcel) and Wataniya Palestine, are hindered by delays in the release of spectrum by Israel that would allow them to properly launch full 3G services; ‘The relationship is one-sided, it is colonial, it is exploiting the Palestinian side, we think as a result of this we are losing around USD120 million a year. We lose it as taxes and licensing fees, plus the roaming.’