Bezeq confirms updated filing from MoC regarding wholesale market issues

11 May 2015

Israeli fixed line incumbent Bezeq has confirmed receipt of an updated notice that has been filed with the High Court of Justice (HCJ) by the Minister of Communications, the Minister of Finance and the Ministry of Communications (MoC) related to the court’s March 2015 decision concerning the wholesale market and the subsequent letter from the director general of the MoC in April 2015 regarding the possibility of providing wholesale telephony services over the telco’s network.

According to the update, following meetings between the MoC and Bezeq to discuss the HCJ’s decision, the regulator has reportedly reached the conclusion that the provision of wholesale telephony services by the telco is technically feasible. Further, it has been claimed that, had Bezeq made preparations in advance, there would have been no technical preclusion to opening the wholesale market on the scheduled date of 17 May 2015. Meanwhile, with respect to economic issues, in the updated notice the MoC was said to have concluded that Bezeq’s argument that proposed wholesale tariffs were unreasonable should not be accepted. Despite this, having re-examined the operator’s complaints, the regulator did note that it had decided that there was scope to make changes ‘in matters concerning the demand for data usage and requirements concerning the quality of the service’.

While Bezeq has said it is studying the notice, it said that based on an initial review it rejects the findings of the MoC, noting in particular that the ministry had not responded to its request for clarifications, figures and additional discussions in the matter. As such, Bezeq has argued that the regulator has not actually completed the roundtable discussions, as required by the HCJ, to evaluate the operator’s arguments, despite the fact that two weeks remain for the parties to submit their notice to the HCJ.