Following on from reports at the end of last month that Select Communications, which was handed an Israeli 3G licence in May 2011 after Marathon Telecom failed to secure financing for the concession, was seeking financing for its rollout, Globes Online claims that the would-be operator is still struggling to raise the funds needed to move forward with launching services.
Having been given until 15 July 2011 to present its financial guarantees to the Ministry of Communications (MoC), the report claims that, while it remains in talks with Israel’s three largest banks – Bank Leumi, Bank Hapoalim and Israel Discount Bank – all three financial institutions remain unconvinced regarding the prospect of investing in the telecoms sector. Bank Leumi in particular, which was part to the financing of Israeli businessman Ilan Ben Dov’s acquisition of mobile operator Partner Communications, is rumoured to be wary of too high an exposure to the communications market. Hapoalim meanwhile has also financed telecoms businesses, notably cableco HOT Telecommunications.
Should Select fail to source the necessary funding to satisfy the terms of the concession, the licence will be passed to the fourth-placed bidder, Golan Telecom, which offered ILS400 million (USD117.3 million) for it in the government’s auction process that concluded back in April.