Xfone issues legal challenge to Cellcom & Golan’s shared network

Israeli operator Xfone has taken legal action in an attempt to prevent market leader Cellcom from forming a network-sharing arrangement with the owner of Golan Telecom.

In a court petition, Xfone claims that the agreement between Cellcom and Electra Consumer Products would violate a deal that it struck with Cellcom six months ago for the nationwide deployment of a 4G network.

While Xfone and Cellcom’s deal has received approval from Israel’s Antitrust Authority, it has yet to be cleared by the Ministry of Communications. While Xfone expressed its opposition to the proposed deal between Electra and Cellcom, it added that it would be open to a tri-party agreement to create a new 4G network.

During Golan’s protracted hunt for a buyer, Xfone had been an early interested party. Electra eventually won out earlier this month, acquiring Golan and signing a ten-year network-sharing arrangement with Cellcom under the agreement that the market leader would drop a long-running legal challenge as well as providing a loan to the unit.

Xfone may not be alone in mounting a legal challenge, with fellow operator Partner Communications mulling whether to take legal action against Electra’s acquisition of Golan due to the Cellcom’s involvement in financing the deal.

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