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Israeli network sharing agreement may be vetoed by authorities

Israel’s regulator is likely to veto a proposed 4G network-sharing agreement between three of the country’s major operators.

Cellcom, Golan Telecom and Pelephone agreed the deal in December 2013 following the announcement of a similar arrangement between the remaining two operators, HotMobile and Partner. However, the Israel Antitrust Authority is trying to avoid a scenario in which there are only two LTE networks in the country, and is therefore likely to reject the deal.

The proposed three-operator LTE network would cover 62% of the country’s mobile connections, meaning that it could significantly impede competition in the market. That said, the authority may not block the deal completely – it could for example limit infrastructure sharing to passive antennae, imposing restrictions and time limits.

It is thought that the deal between HotMobile and Partner will be approved if they agree to abide by certain restrictions, including allowing rivals to access their network and not sharing active infrastructure. However, the authority has not yet made an official announcement on either deal.


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