Six firms have won 4G airwaves in Israel following the country’s first LTE spectrum auctions.
Spectrum in the 1.8GHz frequency band was obtained by Cellcom, HOT Mobile, Golan Telecom, Marathon 018, Partner Communications and Pelephone. The auctions, which are aimed at expanding LTE coverage into rural regions, raised ILS250.5 million ($63 million).
While three of these operators – Cellcom, Partner and Pelephone – already provide 4G services in several Israeli cities, none of them own 4G spectrum. Cellcom and Partner deploy their offering via repurposed 3G spectrum, while Pelephone has leased appropriate frequencies from the Communications Ministry.
Prior to the auctions, Cellcom held 12MHz of converted 3G bandwidth and has added to this with 3MHz of 1.8GHz spectrum, for which it paid ILS19.5 million. Partner meanwhile shelled out ILS33.5 million for an additional 5MHz, augmenting its existing 10MHz block. Pelephone paid ILS96 million for 15 MHz.
HOT Mobile, Golan Telecom and Marathon 018 are all newcomers to the market, each having acquired a 5MHz block. Golan has entered into a network-sharing agreement with Cellcom, while HOT has formed a similar alliance with Partner. Marathon 018 is reportedly also seeking to partner with an existing operator.