Customers are the winners in the cellular war
TheMarker looks at the latest service packages from the five biggest competitors.
New competition in Israel's cellular market has already prompted the longstanding players in the market - Cellcom, Orange and Pelephone - to restructure their pricing plans.
Earlier this month, Golan Telecom and HOT Mobile announced their entry into the market with plans that cut prices significantly. Golan Telecom introduced itself to Israeli cell phone users with a NIS 99 monthly option for unlimited calling and texting, international calls to 29 countries and 2 gigabytes of Internet access. Light users have the option of 60 minutes of talk time, 60 text messages and 10 megabytes of Internet access for a flat rate of NIS 9.90 per month.
HOT Mobile has a similar plan: NIS 89 a month for unlimited calling and texting and 3 gigabytes of Internet access (subject to some limitations regarding the use of wireless networking ). It too has a light users' plan priced at NIS 0.10 per minute of talk time, a text message or a megabyte of Internet access.
In response, Partner Communications, which does business as Orange, has replaced its eight versions of its simplified "Clear" consumer pricing program, which were based on the extent of a customer's usage, with just two packages - one for light users, called Clear Max and the other for heavy users, Clear Unlimited.
Clear Max charges NIS 0.25 for a minute of talk time, a text message or a megabyte of Internet use. The minimum monthly usage charge, regardless of actual use, is NIS 35. The customer can put up a maximum usage block so that when his bill reaches NIS 100 in any given month, he will be blocked from making any outgoing calls, other than emergency calls. Those on this plan would receive notification when their usage is approaching the maximum. The plan also provides for free bonus minutes.
The Clear Unlimited plan costs NIS 125 a month for unlimited talk time and texting and up to 500 megabytes of Internet usage. For another NIS 10 a month, customers can add another gigabyte of web use. Orange also has a NIS 139 per month Clear plan for business customers. Existing customers can make the switch to the new plans on the Orange website.
The website also provides Orange customers the option of upgrading their cell phones. Orange has revamped its pricing structure on new equipment, although in the process, the company also appears to have reduced the number of models it sells, with only seven models currently available. The phones are being offered at reduced prices, Orange said.
For its part, Pelephone is offering cell phones at reduced prices as well. It has three new usage plans. For a NIS 29.90 monthly fee, customers of one plan get talk time at NIS 0.20 a minute, text messages at NIS 0.15, while a megabyte of Internet access costs NIS 0.12. Another plan has a NIS 119 monthly charge for unlimited calling and texting and 200 megabytes of Internet use. The third plan is similar, but customers will pay NIS 139 a month for two gigabytes of web access. Customers of Pelephone plans who don't use at least 100 minutes of their plan in any given month are charged a fine of NIS 30.
Cellcom has an unlimited usage plan for NIS 139 a month (with 500 megabytes of web access ) that also includes international telephone calling.