Hayek committee recommends large cut in fixed line interconnection charges

23 Sep 2011

An immediate reduction in fixed line interconnection fees has been recommended by the committee led by Amir Hayek which is currently examining Israeli telecoms sectors. According to Globes Online, the committee has suggested a 76% reduction in the charge; the current peak rate of ILS0.042 per minute (USD0.011) and off-peak rate of ILS0.022 per minute, it is proposed, should be cut to between ILS0.01 per minute and zero. Meeting for the last time, the working group is understood to have debated whether to recommend an immediate cut in the fee, or whether it should wait for recommendations expected to be made by a consultancy firm hired to price the costs of fixed line incumbent Bezeq’s network. Ministry of Communications deputy director general Assaf Cohen, it is understood, has suggested waiting to introduce the lower rate, but the majority of committee members however are thought to want an immediate cut. Should the committee’s recommendation be adopted it will likely see a reduction in revenues for the likes of Bezeq, as well as cableco HOT Telecommunication Systems and any other telco which receives incoming calls from mobile phones and other networks.

Alongside the issue of fixed line interconnection charges, the Hayek committee also reportedly discussed whether Bezeq should be allowed to continue charging user fees. Most committee members are understood to want the practice ended, and it is expected that such a decision will likely be the final recommendation.