After years of negotiations with the Israeli authorities, both of the Palestinian Territory’s mobile network operators (MNOs) have finally been able to launch commercial 3G services, The Times of Israel reports.
Palcel, which trades under the Jawwal banner, is reported to have introduced UMTS-based connectivity for customers earlier this week, with Ammar Aker, chief executive of the Paltel communications company which owns Jawwal, cited as saying of the development: ‘We launched 3G technically and commercially about midnight on Monday. This is a strategic step we have been waiting for for more than 10 years. We hope it has a positive effect on the national communications infrastructure) and economy.’
Wataniya Mobile, meanwhile, has confirmed via a press release its intention to inaugurate its 3G network today (23 January), adding that it will make the advanced connectivity available to all subscribers free of charge. While it had initially planned to make the service live on 22 January, it held off from doing so in light of strikes across the West Bank which were being carried out in protest at the visit of US Vice President Mike Pence to Jerusalem, and the US administration’s recognition of that city as the capital of Israel.
Notably, 3G services will only be available from both cellcos in the West Bank initially, and not in the Gaza Strip.