Select grabs 3G licence as Marathon disqualified

31 May 2011

Israel’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) has announced that Select Communications has been handed a 3G licence after Marathon Telecom failed to secure financing for the concession it won last month. According to Globes Online, having come third in the 3G auction held earlier this year, Select was handed the UMTS licence with the stipulation that it present guarantees related to the financing of its services within 45 days; should it fail to meet the deadline the concession will be passed to fourth-placed bidder Golan Telecom.

Minister of Communications Moshe Kahlon reportedly met with the tenders committee last week prior to making a final decision on disqualifying Marathon’s winning bid after reports that the company had not been able to arrange the necessary guarantees from Israel Discount Bank (IDB). Israeli businessman Hezi Bezalel, who controls Marathon, was understood to have told the MoC that it was only technical matters that were causing problems for the would-be wireless player, but it seems that the regulator was not convinced of such claims. Under the terms of the company’s winning bid it was required to secure ILS705 million (USD206 million) in guarantees to cover the cost of winning the tender.

Israel, Marathon Investments, Ministry of Communications