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Cellphones in Israel – No collaboration on infrastructure leads to bad quality of service December 6, 2008

Posted by GuySoft in Crictor, Hamakor, ITU, open source.
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Cellphones in Israel - No collaboration on infrastructure leads to bad quality of service

In Israel we have no problem when it comes to cellphone reception, even in deserts you will find that the reception is at full gain. However when the access is antiques, quality and reliability of that access the becomes the really important issue.

Part of a jungle of models

It seems that the service models are quite different around the world, and this seems to directly effect the usage pattern in the country. A common problem in Asia is when one has a monopoly, where a single company is in charge of the cellphone service, usually derived by an agreement with the government. This usually creates dis-connectivity in places where there is a low concentration of people, or remote places that are hard to reach.

Israel is different

In Israel we are on the other side of the spectrum, but with a different problem.
According to Reza Jafari, the head of board of directors in the ITU (Intentional Telecommunication Union) “There need to be at least 3 service providers for a fair competition”, however, in Israel this is the case. And we do see a burst of connectivity. In a talk I had with Reza he told me that the problem in Israel is that the providers do not share the infrastructure. He told me that the ITU did try and advise the carriers in Israel, but they did not listen.

The providers are working backwards

In Israel we have 4 providers, 2 of them (Orange and Cellcom) have two septate infrastructures broadcasting on the same GSM waveband. The outcome is lower quality for all, plus the service is expensive from all the providers (infrastructures need to be maintained after all). After returning to Israel I found that the situation is only getting worse, since Pelephone (whom I counted above) is building yet another GSM network. And why should they? there are 2 already existing! This will only cause bad performance for everyone. Not to mention increasing the count of broadcasting antennas.

The Model already works in Israel

The model of virtual providers does already work in Israel when it comes to the ISPs and infrastructure providers for the Internet. And also for international calls. Thanks to that the price dropped for those services and the quality of service grew rapidly. The same needs to happen in the cellphone networks, if we want to see an expansion in the number and ways of the technology being used. The situation we have now resembles a cartel – 4 providers with an average service, for a high price. However this happens because there is no cooperation between them (unlike in a cartel). This kind of cooperation should lead to profit eventually, once customers use more frequently the provider services (that would be cheaper and better, after all). A cellphone costs 5 times more than a ground-line in Israel today, maybe virtual providers might change this.  I might also end by saying, that the law for virtual providers has passed in Israel, but we don’t seem them yet.

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