Report: Netanyahu nixes sale of low-cost cell company to rival

November 22, 2015  

Reports Sunday said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had decided not to give the government’s blessing to the proposed sale of low-cost cellphone service company Golan Telecom to veteran firm Cellcom. While Netanyahu has still not spoken publicly on the matter, officials said that he has expressed firm opposition to the idea in closed-door discussions with government officials, especially with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.

Golan Telecom – known for its “all you can eat” cellphone service and data plans, with unlimited phone calls in Israel and to 55 countries and unlimited 3G Internet for NIS 99 ($27) a month – is largely the legacy of Kahlon during his term as Communications Minister several years ago. Kahlon fought to break up the oligopoly of cellphone service providers Orange (Partner), Pelephone, and Cellcom, forcing all of them to slash prices and cut costs.

Golan, which is owned by entrepreneur Michael Golan, received a license to operate on the understanding that he would undercut the older companies’ prices – but with Golan eager to sell out to Cellcom, Netanyahu told aides that he felt that the entrepreneur was trying to “take advantage” of the state’s largesse in granting him a license. “We cannot ratify this deal,” Netanyahu told aides. “Golan is simply not living up to his obligations to us.”

Needless to say, Kahlon is opposed to the deal. In a weekend interview, Kahlon said that “Netanyahu understands the benefits of competition and I believe he will make the right decision. I have spoken with him and will continue to do so, and I will do everything I can to prevent him from allowing the deal to go through.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who is a former Communications Minister, is also trying to prevent the deal, and has appealed to, among others, the Antitrust Authority to intervene. “It’s clear to everyone that selling Golan Telecom to one of the existing firms will badly damage competition and once again bring about prices increases in the cellular market. We will do everything possible to prevent this from happening,” said Erdan.

Protect and Support Israel by Sharing our Articles

Similar posts

Leave a Reply

© 2007-2023 Solve Israel's Problems. All Rights Reserved