Israel’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) has formally awarded three operators with a license to establish a commercial 5G network.

The MoC awarded the contract to HOT Mobile which had teamed up with Partner Communications, and separately to Pelephone.

The government tender was finalized last month but no winners were officially announced. However, Bezeq, the owner of Pelephone, revealed on August 13 that it had won the contract and secured around 89m shekels ($26m) in funding.

Yesterday, in a government announcement, the Director-General of the Communications Ministry, Liran Avisar Ben-Horin, stated: “Today we are at the dawn of a new era… The Ministry of Communications congratulates the winning companies, which now have the right and the obligation to deploy an advanced cellular network and to bring Israel to the next era of the technology."

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Minister of Communications Yoaz Hendel (left) and Director-General of the Ministry, Liran Avisar Ben-Horin (right) – Ministry of Communications

Off to a quick start

All three companies were publicly announced by Communications Minister Yoaz Handel as he signed off on the contract.

Hendel said: “From the first moment I took over the Ministry, I knew that this would be the mission, to vault the country forward by accelerating the deployment of advanced communications infrastructure on landlines and on mobile telephony. I am delighted that from the moment the results of the tender were published, the communications companies did not rest on their laurels and worked quickly to meet the conditions for obtaining the license."

Pelephone quickly followed up on the announcement with one of its own: It will launch 250 cell towers that support 5G throughout a number of towns and cities in Israel.

According to a report by CommsUpdate, following the tender, all three operators have now launched 5G services commercially.

Pelephone is offering two 5G plans, 200GB and 500GB of data monthly, priced around 50 Israeli shekels ($14) and 60 shekels, ($17), respectively. Partner and HOT Mobile are also offering customers the same pricing for 500GB but are selling 1TB of data for around 70 shekels ($20) a month.