Home Cellular, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), officially launched operations in Israel on Sunday.
MVNOs use existing cellphone service infrastructure to sell services to the public. Home Cellular offers the lowest rates currently on the market, with about 0.19 shekels per minute for a phone conversation, 0.15 shekels for a text message, and 0.12 shekels for internet surfing.
Home Cellular uses the infrastructure of the Cellcom mobile network and promises low rates and quality and professional service.
Eden Bar-Tal, Director General of the Ministry of Communications, explained that the entry of more and more MVNOs into the Israeli market signals the end of a long process that allowed for more companies to enter the cellular market.
“The first several steps were aimed to remove all barriers that stopped customers from freely moving from one provider to another,” he said. “By doing this, we allowed new players to come into the market and offer new things to the customers.”
“The second thing,” added Bar-Tal, “was to enable new players to use the current networks of the three largest cellular operators in Israel. By doing that, we now have more suppliers than networks. The end result is that we have competitors and now we see the suppliers running after the customer and not the opposite, as we have experienced in the past.”
He noted that the Israeli mobile market is very dynamic, adding that “we are the first market in the world that allows new competitors to come into the market without limiting them. We allocated more frequencies to have five network owners and also have MVNOs, meaning we have more competitors than networks. We have to remember that the communications business is growing dramatically because we are constantly being introduced to new services.”
Bar-Tal added that according to all estimates, the cellular market is only going to grow and grow and will reach a ratio of ten to one, meaning one person will have as many as ten cellular machines.
"This is a huge market, and that's why you see a lot of companies walking in to take advantage of this huge market."