The 2013 work plan, which the Ministry of Communications is currently discussing, includes the allocation of 4G frequencies. Ministry of Communications director general Eden Bar-Tal says that he not only intends to hold the tender, but to complete the allocation of frequencies so that mobile carriers will be able to prepare, and even begin the planning and establishment of the new network this year.
As "Globes" was the first to report, Bar-Tal plans to allocate 1,800-megahertz frequencies, which are available for use to Pelephone Communications Ltd., HOT Mobile Ltd., and Golan Telecom Ltd. for 4G networks. Cellcom Israel Ltd. (NYSE:CEL; TASE:CEL) and Partner Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; TASE: PTNR), which already have frequencies in the range, will have to use them and will not be eligible to acquire additional frequencies.
In the coming days, the tenders committee is due to convene and decide on the structure for the allocation and number of the frequencies. The committee is also due to decide on the allocation terms, since if it turns out that one of the carriers is not establishing a mobile network, it will not be able to receive an allocation of frequencies. Another question that the committee, or the ministry, will also have to decide is what will happen if Cellcom or Partner decide to use their frequencies and rush to set up 4G networks, while the other carriers have no such option because they lack frequencies.
The Ministry of Communications' position is that it will prevent such a situation from developing, but it has yet to explicitly clarify the matter.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 6, 2013
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