Israeli mobile operator Cellcom says it intends to offer an internet-based television service as it looks to drive revenue growth in the face of intense competition in the domestic cell phone market. The move, which comes after five years of planning and delays, is expected to have a significant impact on the Israeli TV market, which is currently dominated by two firms: cable company HOT, owned by France’s Altice Group via its Altice VII subsidiary; and YES, the digital satellite unit of fixed line incumbent Bezeq Israel Telecom. Reuters notes that Israel’s Communications Ministry has been encouraging Cellcom and its main rival, Partner Communications, to enter the so-called over-the-top (OTT) TV market to provide competition and lower prices to consumers. Partner is on record as saying it plans to launch television services and Golan Telecom is expected to follow suit.
Commenting on the decision, Cellcom chief executive, Nir Sztern, said: ‘Entering a new and penetrated market will require investment and additional operating expenses in order to yield future revenues.’ The CEO went on to say that his company can offer an attractive alternative to the two main protagonists. ‘The company’s OTT TV services are synergetic and complementary to the company’s core business and shall help in retention of customers,’ he said.