Cellular phones are displayed in a store 370 (R).
(photo credit: Erik de Castro / Reuters)
Golan Telecom, a year-old discount-cellular carrier that entered the market in
the wake of government reforms, opened its services to foreigners and tourists
Instead of requiring an Israeli ID number to register with the
company, Golan now only requires a credit card, domestic or foreign, and a
passport. It said that it’s the first cellular company to scrap the national ID
requirement, opening its doors to a market of tourists, frequent visitors and
immigrants, a market it estimates at 150,000-300,000 people.
“It was a
serious number of people, much more than we originally thought,” Golan Telecom
CEO Michael Golan told The Jerusalem Post. Residents from abroad, in particular,
can benefit from Golan’s all-inclusive packages that include free international
calling, he said.
“There are many people who live part-time in Israel and
they want to enjoy the cellular revolution,” he added.
The company has,
thus far, attracted 260,000 customers with low-cost or free introductory
packages. Yet it still faces some challenges. One is pulling in profits with its
rock bottom prices. Another is government- required investments.
the reforms that allow Golan and other new entrants to the field such as HOT
Mobile to piggy-back off existing cellular infrastructure also requires the
companies to build their own infrastructure to cover 90 percent of the
population within seven years.
Those efforts, the company told the
Communications Ministry in a letter last month, were proving
The prime reason, it said, was that government bureaucracy was
too onerous to allow it to efficiently set up new antennas.
process of making the antennas more easy, simple and quick to build,” said Golan
optimistically. The new government, he added, is also weighing options to open
up land lines and television lines in the same vein as it did the cellular ones.
That, he said, could provide the company another growth opportunity.