Group sues cellular firms for NIS 1b.

Class action suit claims companies violated laws aimed at regulating the distribution of antennas.

cell antenna 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
cell antenna 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
An organization known as the Forum for a Sane Cellular Phone System has filed a class action suit demanding NIS 1 billion from the Cellcom, Pelephone and Partner cellular phone companies for violating laws aimed at regulating the distribution of antennas throughout the country. "Over the years, the cellular phone companies have exploited every opportunity to cheat the public," organization official Avi Dabush told The Jerusalem Post. "We don't regard the companies as enemies but hope that the needs and wants of the public they serve will be more important to them than more money in the bank." According to Dabush, there are three types of illegal antennas that have been put up by the phone companies. The first serve the so-called "third generation," of phones. These antennas are not included in the national plan for cellular antennas and operate on different wave lengths than other cellular phones. The second is wireless access "boxes", which are enclosed but, according to Dabush, are antennas nonetheless. At least one magistrate's court has ruled that they are illegal. Finally, there are regular antennas that that the companies try to conceal in various ways. According to Attorney Michael Bach, who is representing the Forum for a Sane Cellular System, "the companies, which are motivated to maximize their profits, erect thousands of cellular antennas throughout the country while ignoring the criteria established by the law. Some of them even do this by stealth and in the middle of the night, as we learned from a page of instructions distributed by one of the companies to those who put them up, telling them not to wear uniforms, dress so as not to stand out and refrain from making contact with passers-by." The Forum wants to use the NIS 1 billion to establish a fund which would be used to redistribute the antennas in accordance with the law and to establish a research center for exploring the allegedly harmful effects of the radiation emanating from the antennas. In its response to the lawsuit, a spokesman for the Forum of the Cellular Phone Companies said that although the suit only arrived on Tuesday, it looked like the real purpose behind the plaintiff's legal action was to gain publicity for themselves.