Paltel set to spend USD50m on network expansion in 2013

9 Apr 2013

Incumbent Palestine Telecommunications Company (Paltel) aims to invest around USD50 million in the development of its fixed and mobile networks this year, CommsMEA claims, citing comments made by the telco’s CEO Ammar Aker. Of the total, the lion’s share – between USD30 million and USD35 million – will be directed towards the operator’s fixed line infrastructure, with the remainder to be spent on expanding and enhancing its mobile network.

Mr Aker noted that, with Paltel having recently received most of the necessary approvals from Israeli authorities for the expansion of its mobile infrastructure along main roads in Area C zones of the West Bank, his company hopes to start network deployment in these areas soon. With the new sites expected to run along main roads, including the road from Jerusalem to Ramallah and Jericho, coverage will also be extended to the road from Ramallah to Hebron, with the executive stating: ‘We applied for 65 sites, but we will start with ten to twelve immediately.’

Despite having obtained approval for the installation of a number of new cell sites, Mr Aker did, however, confirm that Paltel is still awaiting spectrum suitable for the introduction of third-generation mobile broadband services. ‘We are one of the few operators left in the Middle East to not have mobile broadband. We have the licence and we have paid for the licence three years ago but we still cannot operate because we were not assigned a frequency band from the Israeli authorities … It is killing our growth. We have modest growth but we cannot grow as other operators have done in the world. 3G and mobile broadband provided a new opportunity for growth for many operators especially with everything moving towards data instead of voice.’