Gov't mulls setting minimum phone package price

Nati Cohen Photo: Eyal Izhar

The Communications Ministry is concerned that intensive competition is preventing investment in 5G and fiber-optic infrastructure and could cause the collapse of mobile operators.

The troubled state of Israel's mobile phone operators as reflected in their 2018 financial results has bothered the Ministry of Communications, which doesn't want to be caught unprepared, if one of the companies collapses. Sources have informed "Globes" that Ministry of Communications director general Nati Cohen has asked senior staff to monitor developments in the market.

Among plans that have been proposed is to set a minimum price for a monthly cellular package to enable companies to keep their heads above water. A source in the Ministry confirmed this plan to "Globes" but said it was unclear whether it would be implemented. Nothing will be decided before a new minister of communications is appointed after the elections.

Even though the ministry would be unwilling to admit it, fixing a minimum price would be an admission that it was a big mistake to allow a sixth mobile phone company - Xphone's We4G - to begin operating. The intensified competition has led to very low prices making it difficult for mobile operators to invest in infrastructure and the Ministry of Communications also understands that other industries could be hit.

The biggest concern is that the situation in the market will result in Israel falling behind in fiber optic infrastructure and 5G technology, due to a lack of investment.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on April 1, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

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Nati Cohen Photo: Eyal Izhar
Nati Cohen Photo: Eyal Izhar
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