Mobile phone operator Cellcom is offering a package of television, home phone and Internet services as it seeks new revenue streams in the face of a fiercely competitive mobile phone market. Its “triple” package is priced at just 149 shekels ($39) per month, which is lower than analysts had expected. The comparable package offered by Hot, the cable and telecommunications company, is 220 shekels a month.
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The Cellcom package features 40 megabytes of high-speed Internet access, including infrastructure and the Internet service provider, as well as landline telephone service and Cellcom’s package of television offerings. The price will be in effect for a year, after which it will go up by 20 shekels per month.
Cellcom Chairman Ami Erel said that cellular companies have been forced to develop growth strategies in other markets to counter squeezed profitability in mobile, where the Israeli government has created a wholesale market to lower prices. The new wholesale market, in which Bezeq Israel Telecom is forced to lease its infrastructure to competitors, will be fully opened to Internet and landline phone services on May 17.
In December, Cellcom launched a preemptive strike in the television service sector with Cellcom TV, priced at 99 shekels ($26) a month for an unlimited video-on-demand (VOD) package of television shows, movies and children’s programming. The new “triple” package couples the television plan with landline phone and home Internet.
The company’s foray into television provided the sector’s first real competition in 15 years, offering an alternative to cable operator Hot and Bezeq-owned satellite company Yes. Cellcom’s TV service has so far signed up nearly 30,000 subscribers, the company said.
Against the backdrop of the new Cellcom package and to some extent also in response to 018 Xfone’s 69 shekel per month Internet service, the Psagot investment firm lowered its target price for shares of Bezeq from 6.75 shekels to 6 shekels, and lowered its recommendation from “hold” to “underperform.” Bezeq shares closed in Tel Aviv on Wednesday up 1.2% at 6.96 shekels.
With reporting by Amitai Ziv.