Cellcom has joined competitor Partner Communications in offering 4th-generation cellular service providing faster speeds. Unlike Partner, which does business in Israel as Orange, Cellcom did not provide details on the rollout and how many customers will be able to access it initially. The 4G network is to be launched today and will be nationwide by the end of the year, Cellcom said. Initially the service is to be available in most of the Tel Aviv area and the Sharon area a bit to the north. Cellcom customers with phones capable of using the 4G technology will be automatically provided the service at no additional charge. Those wishing to switch immediately can do so via a special Cellcom website. (Amitai Ziv)
Company controlled by Golan Telecom partner in bid for T-Mobile in the U.S.
French telecommunications company Iliad has made a surprise offer for T-Mobile US, setting up a potential bidding war with Sprint Corp, the U.S. mobile carrier now controlled by Japan’s Softbank Corp. Iliad was founded and is controlled by Xavier Niel, a part owner of Israel’s Golan Telecom. The T-Mobile offer is Niel’s most audacious attempt at extending his reach beyond France, Monaco and Israel. The American media and telecommunications market is already in turmoil as a series of U.S. cable and cellular operators have bid for rivals to cut costs amid slowing growth. Iliad, which has shaken up the French mobile and broadband market in the past decade with its cheap, pared-down subscriber plans, bid $15 billion in cash for 56.6% of T-Mobile US at $33 per share, it said in a statement Thursday. In Israel, competition from Golan Telecom was a major force in driving down cellular service prices. (Reuters and TheMarker)