Atias: Number portability will awaken cellular market

The Communications Minister spoke at the "Cellular communications' brave new world" panel at the Globes Israel Business Conference.

"Number portability is the key step in the process that will stimulate competition in the cellular market," said Minister of Communications Ariel Atias at the "Cellular communications' brave new World" panel at the Globes Israel Business Conference 2007 today.

Atas added, "The importance of the number portability reform isn't in the number of subscribers who switch providers every day. It lies in the ability to switch, and when this option exists, the markets will wake up. There are packages and campaigns, which should have been done under supervision but are now happening of their own accord. Calls are now being charged by the second, and we know that this is because the market has been released from the chains that bound it. The communications market has a turnover of NIS 30 billion. We have consumers and we have the technology."

The panelists were Partner Communications CEO David Avner, Eurocom Cellular Communication president and CEO Ilan Grinboim, LM Ericsson Israel president and CEO Shlomo Liran, Intel GM Wireless Mobile Group VPt Raviv Melamed, and fring CEO Avi Shechter. Communications consultant Yoram Mokadi chaired the panel

Mokadi asked Atias, "Hasn’t the time come for the Ministry of Communications to do the utmost to see that number portability succeeds?"

Atias replied, "We expected portability get off to the start that it did; we didn’t expect there to be no problems. We're starting this week with our eyes open. I am unaware of any breakdowns so far. I'm convinced that the companies are cooperating. We won't let number portability slip between our fingers."

Commenting on the issue of radiation from cellular antennas, Atias said, "That is the responsibility of the Ministry of Environmental Protection. Maybe we should have had a single company build the infrastructure that many operators would use, and this would have reduced the number of antennas. The disadvantage of this method is that it would not encourage the use of for new competing technologies. On the other hand, it's unacceptable to riot in Peki'in and blow up antennas in Tel Aviv, and act like it's business as usual."

Avner added, "The public panicked at the sight of scary-looking steel antennas and it doesn’t know that there are things that emit far more radiation."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on December 9, 2007

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2007

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