A governmentappointed committee on Wednesday issued a longawaited report on
shaking up Israels telecoms sector intended to create more competition and
lowering prices for consumers.
The Gronau committee recommended that dominant phone and telecoms company Bezeq
BEZQ.TA, which holds nearly 90 percent of the countrys fixedline business, be
forced to allow other firms to lease its infrastructure.
In return, Bezeq would be allowed to sell packages of fixed line phone services
along with highspeed Internet via DSL.
Due to Bezeqs monopoly status until recently, it has been restricted by the
Communications Ministry from offering packages like its rival, cable company HOT
HOT.TA, which has been selling a tripleplay of phone, Internet and TV for
more than a year.
Bezeq owns half of digital satellite company YES and all of its Internet Service
Provider (ISP) and long distance calling unit Bezeq International. Those units
would not be allowed to be merged into one company, the Gronau report said.
The committee also recommended that Bezeqs calling rates become more flexible,
although they would remain supervised as long as Bezeqs fixedline market share
was above 60 percent.
It also recommended changes to further open Israels mobile phone market.
I will study the committees recommendations and take the best decisions for
Israels telecommunications market, said Communications Minister Ariel Attias
in a statement.
Bezeq has long pushed for the ability to provide tripleplay packages. But in a
response to the committees recommendations, it said it was disappointed overall
since it would be forced to unbundle its fixedline infrastructure.
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