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FREE opérateur mobile en Israël ?

Jeudi 30 Décembre 2010

Apres avoir lancé avec succès sa nouvelle Freebox Revolution en France et annoncé que les appels vers mobiles et fixes sont inclus dans le forfait illimté, FREE s'attaque à Israël

FREE opérateur mobile en Israël ?
Source : The Marker Haaretz

The tender for Israel's fifth cellular operator is drawing much interest from both local and overseas companies, and two of them are French. Moreover, one is Free, the company that revolutionized communications in France, for the greater good of consumers.

Xavier Niel, founder of the French communications giant Free, has expressed interest in the Israeli tender for new cellular frequencies - and in establishing a cellular company in Israel. Free is best known for breaking the telecoms monopolies in France and lowering prices.
Xavier Niel founded Free in 1999.

Xavier Niel founded Free in 1999.
Photo by: Reuters

Niel has taken on the services of former Free CEO Michael Golan, to analyze the economic feasibility of the new cellular company. Golan was also formerly Patrick Drahi's right hand man at HOT Telecom. Drahi is also a French telecom tycoon who has bought control of HOT and Mirs.

The cellular frequency tender is scheduled to close in February 2011. The tender will allow two companies to buy the rights to new GSM frequencies - and to use them for cellular operations.

One company already ready to bid is Mirs, Israel's fourth and smallest cellular firm, which wants to seriously upgrade its network and services. Drahi also controls Mirs.

Three other companies have expressed serious interest in the tender: Hezi Bezalel's Xfone 018; Yehiel Ben-Shoshan's Keshernet, which is backed by Canada's Ghermezian family; and Niel's Free.

Niel is also the founder and part-owner of French telecom company Iliad. He is ranked 18 on the list of France's richest people with an estimated wealth of 2.3 billion euros. Free has brought down telecom prices in France and has revenues estimated at 2 billion euros this year, and has 4.5 million customers. The company sells a triple play package of Internet, telephone and television services for 30 euros a month. Free is entering the cellular industry too, and will start operations at the end of 2011 or early 2012.

Free has sparked a consumer revolution in the French telecom market, providing a simple, easy to understand package of products at a good price. It is quite likely Free will take a similar strategy in Israel.

Golan was the CEO of Free, which made him a competitor at the time of Drahi's French cable operations. Two years ago, Golan immigrated to Israel and worked for Drahi at HOT and Mirs. Golan recently left HOT to return to Free.

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