Pelephone and Cellcom mulling 4G network rollout alliance?

14 Nov 2013

In the wake of the revelation that Israeli cellcos Partner Communications and HOT Mobile had struck a network sharing deal, Globes Online is reporting that fellow wireless operators Pelephone and Cellcom have begun negotiations regarding co-operation in the sector. It is understood that Pelephone, the mobile subsidiary of fixed line incumbent Bezeq, and Cellcom are examining whether they might be granted permission to collaborate on the construction of a fourth-generation cellular network. While the talks between the two parties are said to be at a very early stage, it has been suggested that a tie-up between Pelephone and Cellcom could face tougher regulatory hurdles than the Partner/HOT agreement, as in the latter case HOT is considered as a new entrant to the sector, and at end-June 2013 accounted for less than 8% of Israel’s mobile subscribers. By comparison, with market leader Cellcom and Pelephone representing 32.1% and 27.5% of the market at that date, it is believed that gaining regulatory approval for such a tie-up could prove tricky, with the Ministry of Communications said to favour seeing some form of partnership between the wireless sector’s other newer player Golan Telecom and one of the more established operators.