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July 2, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:29pm

BEZEQ ATTEMPTS TO SMOTHER TELECOMS COMPETITION IN ISRAEL

By CBR Staff Writer

Showing a blatant disregard for all attempts to kick start telecoms competition in Israel, State-owned carrier Bezeq Israel Telecom Ltd announced a raft of proposed international tariffs undercutting current rates by as much as 80%. According to Communications Minister Limor Livnat Bezeq is violating the law and exploiting its dominant market position. Livnat said Bezeq International, Bezeq’s international phone service subsidiary, was offering customers “dumping prices” and asked Israel’s anti-trust authority to intervene. Under the law, Bezeq is subject to strict supervision during the first six months of the new competitive market. Bezeq said the ministry knew of its ad campaign and that it had not violated the law because the new rates were not yet in force even though it had arranged the rates without ministry approval. The move forced the government to delay the opening of Israel’s international calls market to competition, which should have gone ahead yesterday. According to government officials’ competition will start in a few days. The two new telecoms providers lined up to compete with Bezeq, Golden Lines, controlled by SBC Communications Inc, Italy’s Stet SpA and three Israeli partners, and Barak, controlled by Global One members Sprint Corp, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom along with Clal Israel and Matav Cable Systems Media Ltd are said to be in negotiations with the government. Earlier this year, the Israeli government approved a plan to sell a 25% stake in Bezeq, which will reduce its holding to 51%, by the end of the year (issue 270).

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