Partner gains approval to carry out unbundling trial on HOT network

24 Jul 2013

Israel’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) has reportedly granted approval for mobile network operator Partner Communications to carry out a technology trial over the hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) network owned by HOT Telecommunication Systems. According to Globes Online, the development comes after Orange requested permission for the trials, but it is understood that, despite the ministry’s decision, HOT has strongly objected to the plans.

Partner intends to use the trial to test the feasibility of offering services via HOT’s cable network by placing its own communications boxes next to the cableco’s and connecting directly to customer premises from there. For its part, HOT has contended that such a hook-up is not technically feasible, due to the way in which its network is constructed. Further, the cableco has claimed that implementing such a system – which would effectively mean unbundling its network – will result in the cannibalisation of the infrastructure by carriers, and will severely damage both HOT and its customers.

While HOT has agreed to allow other operators to utilise its network as part of ongoing reforms being carried out by the MoC with a view to boosting competition in the broadband sector, it has argued that such connectivity should only be established as per the country’s existing setup, in which it manages all the internet traffic from customers for alternative internet service providers (ISPs). Partner meanwhile has refuted the suggestions regarding the technical difficulties, stating that it has an engineering option which it claims will not impact HOT at all.

With Partner’s application for the trials having been lodged some months backs, the approval came only after a new director general had been appointed at the MoC. It is understood that Partner is now required to ask HOT to conduct the tests as planned, but should the cableco refuse it remains unclear whether the regulator will step in to force it to do so.