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Mobile phone company Cellcom said this week it added 37,000 net customers in the second quarter, maintaining its position as the largest cellular network in Israel with a total 2.678 million subscribers. Its closest competitor, Partner Communications, earlier this month, said it had 25,000 new net subscribers in the quarter, bringing its total to 2.585 million, while Bezeq subsidiary Pelephone has yet to release its quarterly results. At the end of the first quarter, Pelephone had 2.34 million customers.
While a survey by research group Yankee Group showed that some 32 million US households would make a triple-play decision to subscribe to voice, video or data services from a cable, satellite or phone company in the next three years, the trend in Israel is lagging, Shelly Tshuva, Partner at Israeli consulting firm Trigger Foresight said.
According to Tshuva, the regulatory limitations on Bezeq to bundle its services was among the reasons for the slower penetration in the triple-play arena - the term used for the ability to market Internet, television and telephone service over a single broadband connection. Hot is the only company in Israel that currently has triple-play capabilities and Tshuva noted that it has only been able to do so for less than two years.
Bezeq, which has subsidiaries in each arena through multi-channel company Yes, Internet supplier Bezeq International and its regular land-line service, cannot offer bundled services until it loses 15% of the telephone market.
Yankee Group said the annual revenue opportunity for the US triple-play market for service providers will grow from $137.5 billion in 2006 to $145.3b. by 2009.
Israeli founded provider of smart storage solutions M-systems' x4 NAND flash technology has been named the "most innovative flash memory technology" of 2006 at the Flash Memory Summit.
M-systems said the x4 technology was developed in collaboration with Tel Aviv University's (TAU) School of Electrical Engineering and exclusively licensed to M-systems, for use in flash memory products.
The technology enables the storage of 4 bits of data per cell on nearly the same die size as 2 bits, driving significant manufacturing cost reductions.
It's not the first time M-systems has won accolades for its products after its flagship 'DiskOnKey' gadget was named as the ninth greatest gadget of the last 50 years by technology magazine PC World at the end of last year.
Earlier this month, M-systems was sold for $1.5b. to Sandisk, another Israeli-founded company that works out of the US.
Meanwhile, multimedia communications and billing software provider Comverse, another Israeli-founded company, has won a contract whereby Vodafone Portugal will upgrade to the Comverse Kenan FX framework to support its billing for converged voice and data mobile services for customers. The service, which also extends to the corporate sector, combines the Kenan BP billing engine with ordering and customer management applications to enable efficient customer lifecycle management.
Vodafone Portugal, a member of the Vodafone Group, has used the Kenan BP billing solution to support its customer base since 1999.
Finally, Tower Semiconductor said its advanced photo diode (APD) process is being used in a new series of image sensors for Taiwan-based Biomorphic Microsystems Corporation, a supplier of imaging solutions for cell phones.
The contract to power Biomorphics' new series of CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) imaging sensors, is worth approximately $10 million to Tower in the first year of production. The product, which enables improved optical and electrical performance of ultra-small pixels, will be manufactured at Tower's Fab2 in 0.18-micron technology in Migdal Ha'emek.
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