Pelephone, the wireless subsidiary of Israel’s fixed line subsidiary Bezeq, has become the country’s third operator to inaugurate limited commercial 4G services, Globes Online reports. However, unlike both Partner and Cellcom, which launched in mid-July and early August, respectively, Pelephone is offering its LTE-based services using frequencies that it has received on loan from the Ministry of Communications (MoC); its rivals are both using spectrum that they themselves own. In a similar fashion to its competitors, meanwhile, Pelephone has said that it will not charge those of its customers with 4G-compatible handsets for access to the faster download rates offered by the technology, with subscribers simply required to sign up on the operator’s website. Network deployment is said to be underway in a number of areas, with service initially on offer in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beersheva, Herzliya, Rishon Lezion, Netanya, Kfar Sava, and Ramle, while coverage is expected to be extended to Haifa, Petah Tikva and other areas soon.
Commenting on the development, Pelephone CEO Gil Sharon was cited as saying: ‘Five years ago, we already set new standards for the customer speed experience. With 4G too, we will strive to provide our customers with the fastest speed and the best surfing experience.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in mid-July 2014 the MoC gave the go-ahead for three of the nation’s mobile network operators to offer immediate, but limited, LTE-based services prior to the auctioning of suitable spectrum, expected later this year. At that date it was confirmed that Pelephone would be able to ‘borrow’ 5MHz of 4G-suitable spectrum, while both Partner and Cellcom would use 5MHz blocks of frequency that they already owned to offer the improved mobile broadband technology commercially.