Bezeq forced to share its telephony infrastructure
Bezeq Israel Telecom has been notified by the Ministry of Communications that as of 1 August 2018 it is required to make its telephony infrastructure available for leasing.
The news comes following on from the Bit Stream Access + Telephony service portfolio (BSA) and Bezeq is required to provide such service both separately and as an add-on service to the BSA.
In section 18.104.22.168 of the BSA published in 2017, based on the decision made by the current acting Minister of Communications, where it stated that Bezeq was required to supply telephony service in resale format for a year from July 2017. At the time the Ministry of Communications said that it was going to review possibly extending the resale arrangement or possibly make it permanent.
The company has told the Ministry that in order to make this new mandated wholesale service possible, a switch needs to be replaced as part of very protracted process, in order to make this technologically feasible. As such Bezeq has indicated that it will be unable to meet the schedule provided by the Ministry but it is working with them to find a solution.
Bezeq says that the implementation of the service portfolio will negatively affect the company’s financial results, though at this stage it can’t be sure of the extent of the impact. At the time of the statement from Bezeq (6 June) the company’s shares were trading almost 4% lower than usual.
Israel is implementing a wide scale wholesale market reform in an attempt to drive down consumer prices and increase competition. At present Bezeq is one of two companies providing telecom infrastructure but is still the country’s most dominant player.
The reform outlines were originally laid out in 2014, but rollout of the reform slowed as Bezeq said the wholesale reform in its original version was technologically impossible to implement, leading to the current resale version we have now.