Hot on the heels of the revelation that Israel’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) had given the nod for existing cellcos to offer limited 4G services with immediate effect, Partner Communications has become the first operator to do just that. In announcing the development Partner, which offers services under the ‘Orange’ banner, confirmed that it is now providing LTE-based services using 5MHz of refarmed spectrum in the 1800MHz band. As of 15 July 2014 Partner’s existing customers that own 4G-compatible handsets will be able to take advantage of the new technology at no additional cost ‘until the completion of additional frequencies allocation by the MoC as part of the 4G frequencies tender that was published on 2 July 2014’.
With Partner saying that the allocation of additional LTE-suitable spectrum will enable ‘the realisation of the full 4G technology advantage’, the cellco confirmed that the permission to offer the limited 4G services is subject to a number of conditions. Among those are that: the MoC will be allowed to order Partner to terminate the use of the 1800MHz band for 4G, and instead allocate another band; that Partner must allow subscribers signed up with other cellcos and virtual operators with which it has inked hosting agreements for the provision of roaming services to benefit from access to the 4G network without discrimination; that the 4G network deployment will be carried out in a deployment ratio of 1:1 between central areas and ‘periphery’ areas; and that until the completion of the 4G frequencies allocation by the MoC the cellco will not be allowed to charge an extra payment for 4G services.
Commenting on the development, Haim Romano, Partner’s CEO, noted: ‘We are proud to be the first company to provide its customers with 4G services with the widest deployment. Partner’s organisational vision is to lead in progress and technological innovation and today we are pleased to fulfil again our promise and to launch the first 4G network for the benefit of the public in Israeli.’