Outgoing communications minister proposes sharp reduction in Bezeq’s fixed line pricing

17 Dec 2020

Israel’s outgoing minister of communications Yoaz Hendel has, as one of his last acts in office, proposed a sizeable cut to the charge that fixed line incumbent Bezeq levies for a fixed voice telephone line, while also proposing reductions in the rates for calls to both numbers on other fixed networks as well as to mobile numbers.

In a press release, Bezeq confirmed that it has been advised of plans for the maximum monthly charge for a fixed telephony line to be reduced to ILS24.36 (USD7.5) including VAT, down from the current maximum of ILS57.92. Meanwhile, with regards to the reduction of calling costs, a cap of ILS0.014 per minute has been proposed for calls from Bezeq fixed lines to other fixed line numbers, with the cost of calling mobile numbers to fall to ILS0.084. Bezeq also notes that, as per the proposals, it would be obligated to market to its subscribers a bundled service offering a fixed line and 500 minutes for calls to both fixed line and mobile numbers at a maximum rate of ILS28 per month. According to the Ministry of Communications (MoC), the proposed change in rates could save the country’s fixed line telephony users a total of around ILS331 million per year.

Bezeq has said it is now studying the hearing documents published by the MoC regarding the proposals, and is preparing to submit its response by 4 January 2021. The telco has, meanwhile, said it believes that should the proposed changes be implemented, they would have ‘a material adverse effect’ on its financial results. For its part, the MoC’s director general, Liran Avishar Ben-Horin, was cited as saying: ‘The tariff update is requested after 17 years and the changes that have taken place in the communications market and technological developments in recent years, and is expected to produce the right balance between company costs and service payments and subscriber payments.’