Cellular firms required to give written notice of impending rate hikes

The Communications Ministry is clamping down on cellular phone companies, which raise tariffs without prior warning to customers.

By AVI KRAWITZ
February 14, 2007 07:09
1 minute read.

The Communications Ministry is clamping down on cellular phone companies, which raise tariffs without prior warning to customers. "The reforms that we are driving for cellular subscribers will protect the rights of Israeli consumers," Communications Minister Ariel Attias said Tuesday "We are consistently working to improve their strength against the [cellular ] companies." Under the reform, cellular companies will only be able to raise their tariffs on any product after informing subscribers of the new rates in writing. This was one of a number of changes the ministry said will take effect on March 15. It is also prohibiting companies from providing services to customers they did not sign up for, including free services provided to all its subscribers. Attias further said the changes would tighten the agreement between the customer and the companies by, among others, extending the consumers' rights in canceling the contract. Responding to the order, Pelephone said it already notifies its customers prior to a rate increase and disputed that it gives services not agreed to by customers. The ministry has embarked on an effort to make the cellular and fixed-line telephone market more transparent. Among those efforts was an attempt to implement number portability, which would allow customers to keep their phone numbers when changing service providers. None of the telecom companies met last year's deadline and are expected to be ready for portability by the end of this year.


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