Israel’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) has launched a tender to select two new mobile network operators, Globes Online reports, with four potential bidders set to take part in the sale process. Bidding started at 10am local time on Monday morning, and the regulator is offering two 3G licences, although a number of alterations to the auction process have been made. Under the revised sale plans the starting bid amount has been lowered to ILS10 million (USD2.91 million), down from ILS100 million, with bids to be updated every ten minutes. The second alteration made to the sale was a change in the amount and timing of bids once the ILS100 million threshold is reached; bids will now increase by ILS5 million every ten minutes, instead of rising in ILS1 million increments per hour. Bidding will take place for both concessions simultaneously, and will run until just two would-be buyers remain.
Speaking ahead of the sale, communications minister Moshe Kahlon said of the development: ‘Tomorrow will conclude the reform in the communications market, which aims to increase competition in the cellular sector. The reform began 18 months ago with the entry of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), continued with the lifting of churn barriers, such as the cancellation of exit fines and the reduction of inter-network connectivity fees at the beginning of this year, and will peak tomorrow with the entry of new mobile carriers into the market … The results of tomorrow’s tender will change Israel’s cellular sector. A more competitive market will result in much lower prices, improved service for consumers, and of course, bring about innovation and technological progress.’