Cellcom Israel launches LTE network

Cellcom Israel has launched an LTE network in the country after receiving approval from the Israeli Ministry of Communication (MoC).

Regulators have approved operators in the country to use the 1800MHz frequency band for LTE services, which was already in Cellcom’s possession, and the company launched the network on Sunday.

The country has yet to complete a 4G frequency tender, and the company, under certain conditions, will continue the rapid roll-out of the network in order to achieve high-quality deployment by the end of the year.

Regulators are reportedly planning to sell off additional 1800MHz spectrum for 4G later this year, and prospective bidders have to submit proposals to acquire the spectrum by 28 September.

According to local reports, rival operator Pelephone has also started offering the network, joining Partner Communications, which launched 4G in mid-July. Pelephone – a subsidiary of incumbent Bezeq – is using spectrum on loan from the MoC, and will not have a chance to acquire its own spectrum until the auction.

Smaller operators Hot Telecom and Golan Telecom will also be interested in making bids, although the government has already said it does not have enough spectrum to allow all five operators to launch 4G.