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Israeli soldiers talk on cellphones. Photo by Nir Kafri
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The war and the call-up of civilians for reserve duty has sparked a sharp rise in text messaging and mobile surfing as people seek to stay in touch with loved ones as well as the news, the cell phone companies said yesterday.

But the increased traffic won't reach the mobile operators' bottom line because so many subscribers have signed on to package plans with unlimited calling and text messages.

Pelephone said that on Thursday, the first full day of the conflict, the number of calls answered on its network rose 9% compared to the Thursday before to 85.5 million. The number of text messages climbed 20% to 29 million. Partner Communications said calls rose 10%, text messages 21% and surfing time 5%.

Cellcom said use of its network grew 10%. Hot Mobile led the pack, saying calls rose 30%, text messages 50% and surfing 10%. Its landline calls jumped 50% on Thursday and briefly doubled when rockets were shot down over the Tel Aviv area. (TheMarker Staff )