Israeli communications minister presses for antitrust regulation of cellcos

22 Nov 2010

Moshe Kahlon, the Israeli communications minister, has called on Antitrust Authority Commissioner Ronit Kan to consider whether the country’s mobile network operators should face additional regulation after recent activities. According to Bloomberg, the move was prompted by recent price hikes made by the cellcos, with Ministry of Communications (MoC) spokesperson Yechiel Shabi noting: ‘The minister believes it is in the antitrust authority’s power to check the companies’ recent behaviour … The three mobile companies raised customer rates on about the same day and at similar rates and also approached the High Court of Justice with the same claims.’ All three of Israel’s major mobile providers – Cellcom, Pelephone and Partner Communications – revealed last week that they would increase tariffs in light of imminent reductions in interconnection rates, and Shabi said that should they be declared an oligopoly, the antitrust watchdog would be authorised to supervise the operators.