Israel concludes 5G spectrum auction; MoC approves Cellcom’s purchase of Golan Telecom

14 Aug 2020

Israel’s auction of 5G-suitable spectrum has officially come to a close, with the Ministry of Communications (MoC) naming three winning bidders. All three secured identical spectrum allocations, specifically a 10MHz block in the 700MHz band, a 20MHz block in the 2600MHz band and 100MHz in the 3.5GHz (3500MHz-3800MHz) band.

Cellcom, which bid in partnership with Golan Telecom and Marathon Telecom (owner of 018 Xfone), emerged as the biggest spender, agreeing to pay a total of ILS115 million (USD34 million) for its new frequencies, while Bezeq subsidiary Pelephone will pay just over ILS88 million for its spectrum allocations. Rounding out the winners, Partner Communications – which bid in partnership with HOT Mobile – offered a little over ILS62 million for its frequencies.

It is understood that the 700MHz band allocations will be valid for a period of 15 years, while both the 2600MHz and 3.5GHz allocations are valid for ten years, with all concessions to be renewable at the end of those periods. In terms of payment timings, all winning bidders will not be required to make payment for their new spectrum until September 2022.

Meanwhile, in separate but related news, the MoC has announced its approval for the acquisition of Golan Telecom by Cellcom, subject to certain conditions. In a press release regarding the matter, the regulator said it did not believe the transaction would harm the level of competition in the country’s cellular sector.