Communications Minister Gilad Erdan is demanding from cell phone companies that they improve their service in Judea and Samaria. Erdan said that the situation whereby users of cellphones find their conversations suddenly drop was unfair, annoying, and potentially dangerous.
“It is unacceptable that whole areas of Judea and Samaria do not have coverage, or have only partial coverage,” Erdan wrote in a letter to Israel's large cellphone service providers. “The cellphone companies have a responsibility to ensure that these communities receive full service.”
Erdan said that he was responding to hundreds of complaints by residents and visitors to towns in Judea and Samaria. Erdan demanded that the companies put into effect a plan that was first developed in 2011 to add cell towers to areas of Judea and Samaria where coverage is weak or non-existent. Erdan ordered that the plan be immediately put into effect, and completed by 2014.
In his letter, Erdan emphasized that making and receiving phone calls in many communities, as well as on roads, was difficult in many areas, and impossible in others. The issue was one not just of convenience and fairness to consumers, but also a security concern, as many members of the defense forces who traveled the roads in Judea and Samaria were dependent on their cellphones to communicate, and had a difficult time using them.
According to their licenses, the cellphone companies are required to ensure that reception is available in all areas that the Communications Ministry demands.