Israeli cellco Partner Communications Company, which offers services in the country under the ‘Orange’ brand name, has announced that it had deployed more than 260 Long Term Evolution (LTE)-enabled sites throughout the country, but cannot commercially launch the service until the Ministry of Communications (MoC) awards it LTE-suitable frequencies, local news agency Globes reports. At a press conference, Partner Communications CEO Haim Romano said: ‘We prepared the network in the last upgrade… We invested ILS650 million (USD186.1 million) in the network, and we have already bought all the necessary equipment. We have gone through the process. In February, we will have 260 sites ready for transmission, and in May, we will have 600 sites ready for 4G.’ Further, CTO Menachem Tirosh added that ‘large bandwidth is needed, and mobile systems cannot currently handle customers’ growing needs, which is why 4G networks must be launched as quickly as possible’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in January 2013 Israel’s minister of communications Eden Bar-Tal indicated that the government had been examining the licensing process for fourth-generation services. Local news sources noted that Bar-Tal previously suggested the state will allocate spectrum in the 1800MHz band for 4G networks, and with mobile network operators Cellcom and Partner Communications already holding such frequencies, it was suggested the duo will be barred from acquiring additional spectrum in the band.