Cellphone user 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Israel Consumer Council is calling on the public to take an active part in
the campaign it has launched against the cellular companies.
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of complaints we receive shows that the public is angry and frustrated with the
behavior of cellular companies, and there is a sentiment that we don’t have any
bargaining power opposite those companies,” Consumer Council director Ehud Peleg
said Wednesday at a press conference in Tel Aviv. “They like to count our
money but not take us into account.”
“The regulator is acting to bring
down connectivity fees but unfortunately is not intervening in the high level of
prices,” he said. “Therefore, we are announcing a public campaign against
cellular companies by encouraging consumers to use fixed-phone lines instead of
their mobile phones in an effort to reduce the companies’ revenues and for users
to save hundreds of shekels on their mobile phone bills.”
Council on Wednesday opened a campaign in the press and radio under the slogan
“At home and in the office, calls are not made from a mobile phone,” while
asking cellular phone users to drop at least three minutes in calls a day that
they usually make from mobile phones and use fixed-phone lines
According to the council, the coordinated effort of 2.3 million
cellphone users who are paying full tariffs would reduce the revenues of
cellular companies by NIS 1 billion a year.
Other steps suggested by the
council to reduce the companies’ revenues include canceling one’s cellular voice
mail or leaving a message on it to send a text message and leave a voice message
only in an emergency.
In addition, the Consumer Council is encouraging
people to buy cellphones at places not connected to cellular companies, which
can mean saving up to 45 percent on the price of the handset.
talk, they are making a profit. We will make them listen when consumers talk,”
reads the campaign flyer of the Israel Consumer Council. “Cellular companies
make a profit of about NIS 3 billion a year at our expense and continue to raise
prices all the time.”
Revenues of the three large cellular companies –
Cellcom, Pelephone and Partner – increased from a cumulative NIS 16.9b. in 2007
to NIS 18b. in 2009 and are projected to reach NIS 18.9b. in 2010. Net profit
rose from NIS 2.4b. in 2007 to NIS 3.2b. last year and is projected to be
NIS 3.6b. in 2010.
Peleg said a survey conducted by the council during
November found that 41% of consumers ranked the behavior of cellular companies
as the worst in terms of fairness and disclosure.
complained about long and complicated contracts that were hard to understand,
and that cellular companies were forcing consumers into commitments of 36 months
for a mobile phone contract, thereby bypassing the new regulation that forbids
commitment of over 18 months.
“The cellular market is dominated by three
large companies allowing no competition, which makes it hard for consumers to
have bargaining power,” Peleg said. “There is a failure in the market and
the cellular companies are abusing this situation.”