Tech Talk: A revolution in Israel’s telecoms industry

In the last quarter of 2014, Cellcom launched TV services for NIS 99 per month, compared with HOT and Yes, which charge around NIS 340 per month.

Shadowy figure uses cell phone (illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Shadowy figure uses cell phone (illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Revolutionary changes are taking place in Israel’s telecommunications industry. Cellcom has just announced its new triple plan, which includes 40 Mbps Internet infrastructure and ISP services, TV and a landline for just NIS 149 per month. This new package will be available in the next few weeks.
In the last quarter of 2014, Cellcom launched TV services for NIS 99 per month, compared with HOT and Yes, which charge around NIS 340 per month.
Cellcom triple Cellcom chairman Ami Arel said at a recent press conference that the company already has 30,000 television subscribers. But Cellcom is not alone in its quest to offer the Israeli public reduced rates for TV service. Golan Telecom and Rami Levi also plan to offer similar triple packages at reduced rates. A new Israeli company called “Take” has recently begun marketing a TV receiver for a one-time fee of NIS 549. But so far it only offers a limited number of quality channels.
I wouldn’t say this is tantamount to a revolution, but competition is healthy and will hopefully lead to an overall drop in prices.
Eucalyptus Growth Capital Dadi Perlmutter, Rami Hadar and Eldad Tamir have announced their plan to raise $300 million for a late-stage investment firm called Eucalyptus Growth Capital. The advisory board will include worldclass industry leaders, such as Paul Otelline, former CEO of Intel and Google board member; Atiq Raza, former president and COO of AMD; Irwin Federman, general partner USVP; Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies; and Yonel Cohen, former CEO of Migdal Insurance.
Eucalyptus will focus on helping grow middle- and late-stage Israeli technology companies by expanding operations, penetrating international markets and carrying out successful IPOs. Eucalyptus will mainly invest in companies with experienced management teams that have developed breakthrough technologies and have the potential to become global leaders.
Perlmutter served as the senior vice president and CEO of Intel Architecture Group (IAG) and vice president of products (CPO) of Intel. During this period (2009-2013), he was responsible for platform development for every segment of computing and communications, including data centers, desktop and laptop computers, PDAs and wireless communications, which increased sales from $34 billion to $52b. For the 29 previous years, Perlmutter served in various management positions at Intel and was directly responsible for the development of major technologies and played a key role in company decisions.
Tel Aviv Start-up Challenge Tel Aviv University hosted the Tel Aviv Start-up Challenge on Sunday, a large-scale international innovation day led by StarTAU, the university’s entrepreneurship center. The start-up that won the competition was FairFly, which has developed an app that searches for significantly lower fares for airplane tickets and then alerts passengers so they can cancel their previous ticket and book the cheaper one.
The way FairFly works is after you buy an airplane ticket online, you download the FairFly app on your phone (available for iOS and Android) and then forward the e-ticket to [email protected] Fair- Fly monitors the Internet, and when it finds a cheaper fare – factoring in the ticket’s cancellation fee – it alerts the customer. At this point, you can either switch the flight on your own, or you can have FairFly do it for you for free. The company plans to charge fees in the future.
FairFly was founded by three young entrepreneurs, CEO Aviel Siman-Tov, CMO Gili Lichtman and CTO Ami Goldenberg, all of whom are graduates of the Zell Entrepreneurship Program at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC). FairFly teamed up with Waze cofounder Uri Levine, who serves as chairman of the board.
The runner-up was Elasticode, which created a technology that brings personalized application interaction to cellphone users.
The second runner-up was Robit, a friendly robot that moves around, protects the house, plays with the kids and even talks to you. Some 150 startups from around the world participated in the TAU innovation day, 40 of which advanced to the final level. There were 30 judges from around the world and Israel, including managers from leading companies such as McKinsey, Wix, Twitter, Axel Springer, Cisco, Yahoo, Softlayer and eBay.
FST Biometrics Last week, FST Biometrics, which is developing a biometric identification technology, announced that it had raised $15 million from Gary Fegel-led GMF Capital. Former prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak joined the investor group and will be GMF Capital’s representative on the FST Biometrics Board.
FST’s In Motion Identification (IMID) solution is a unique combination of facial recognition and behavioral analytics that offers seamless secure access solutions to world markets. FST’s IMID technology enables individuals to be identified at a distance while in motion.
People don’t need to stop or even slow down for FST’s technology to provide highly accurate and reliable results.
Uber hits the streets of Jerusalem Taxi-finding app Uber began operating in the capital on Jerusalem Day, and passengers enjoyed free rides (up to NIS 50) for the entire day.
“After reducing fares, raising safety levels and improving driver conditions in the Dan area, we are proud to expand and to come to Jerusalem as well, and we plan to reach other cities in Israel later on,” Uber CEO Yoni Greifman said. In addition, Uber is offering 50 percent off taxi fares until 4 p.m. on May 22 for all rides commencing in Jerusalem. But don’t worry – these discounts won’t affect drivers’ remuneration.
If you run a young start-up, have developed an interesting app or have a question, please feel free to contact