Israel holds 5G tender

09 September 2019

Israel launched a tender for fifth-generation (5G) cellular frequencies in July, hoping discounts to struggling mobile phone operators facing fierce competition will entice bids.

Regulator, Ministry of Communications, said it expected the largest three groups - Cellcom, Partner Communications and Pelephone – to bid including a combination of operators to cut down on costs.

Furthermore, it said it expected to announce winners by the end of the year with a commercial launch to start in 2020 and continuing through to the end of 2023.

“We are aware of the companies’ current financial situation and the tender takes this into account,” said Israel’s communications minister David Amsalem.

The ministry has said 5G is necessary to develop health, agriculture and education, as well as smart cities and self-driving cars.

Israel’s three main telecom operators are struggling to stay profitable after a sector revamp back in 2012.

In the shake-up, a raft of new operators sparked a price war that led to steep drops in subscribers, revenue and profit at the three incumbents. All-inclusive calling, surfing and text packages are on offer at a price of US$8 a month.