man speaking on cell phone cellular 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Fred Prouse)
Cellcom Israel Ltd. has lost the largest number of subscribers from January
through September, as competition in the market takes hold, according to
Communications Ministry data obtained by Globes.
Cellcom lost a net
31,287 subscribers in the January- September period, adding 254,765 but losing
The numbers at its two main rivals, Bezeq Israeli
Telecommunication Co. Ltd. subsidiary Pelephone Communications Ltd. and Orange
franchisee Partner Communications Ltd. were the opposite. Partner recruited a
net 24,930 subscribers in January-September, adding 266,001 and losing 241,071;
Pelephone recruited a net 20,690 subscribers, adding 270,557 and losing
The churn rate is projected to increase over the coming year,
with the entry of new mobile carriers and mobile virtual network operators
(MVNO) into the market.
Cellcom used to claim that most subscribers who
left it had multiple numbers and preferred to wait for their contract period to
expire before leaving, instead of paying a fine for early termination. Since the
Communications Ministry banned exit fines earlier this year, this is no longer
an issue for subscribers. The ministry’s decision could boost the churn rate to
20 percent a year, similar to those in Western countries.