IEC board to meet communications minister to discuss telecoms sector entry

28 Jan 2011

The board of directors at state-owned power company Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) are to meet today with the Israeli minister of communications Moshe Kahlon to discuss the former’s entry to the telecommunications sector. According to Globes Online, the minister will brief the directors regarding his views on the proposed venture, which he has previously said will not be delayed despite attempts by potential rivals; despite not naming such rivals directly, incumbent Bezeq and cableco HOT Telecommunication Systems as the only two infrastructure operators at present are both likely to lose out should IEC enter the sector. It is understood that Kahlon has suggested that the bulk of any remaining disputed issues relating to the matter will be resolved within the next few days. The minister is expected to meet early next week with Government Companies Authority director general Doron Cohen, Attorney General for Economics and Fiscal Affairs Adv. Avi Licht, the Ministry of Communications (MoC) legal counsel, and Ministry of Finance officials ahead of publishing a tender for an investor in the venture.

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in February 2010 the MoC handed IEC a trial licence allowing it to test services in Kiryat Shmona. Subsequently, with regulatory matters still under discussion, in the latter part of the year mobile operators Cellcom and Partner both called for the process to be speeded up, arguably as the duo looked to the benefits likely to stem from the introduction of a third viable alternative to using the infrastructure of Bezeq or HOT.

Israel, Israel Electric Corporation (IEC)