The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information and Telecommunications and Israeli officials met in Jerusalem last week to discuss enabling 3G and 4G mobile services in the occupied Palestinian territory, the head of the delegation confirmed Wednesday.
Suleiman Zuheiri, who is also undersecretary of the PA Ministry of Information and Telecommunications, said that Israelis suggested that the 3G network be run by Israeli companies, which the delegation "refused completely."
“We asked the Israelis to let Palestinian service providers choose whether to use 3G or 4G systems,” he said, adding that the 3G network has become outdated and some international companies have stopped producing spare parts for 3G smartphones
If Palestinian companies are prohibited from providing 4G services then Palestinian consumers will simply turn to Israeli companies, to the detriment of the Palestinian economy, Zuheiri added.
Israel also suggested that Palestinian and Israeli companies would work together using the same infrastructure in the Palestinian territory, but the delegation rejected this as well.
“All infrastructure that belongs to the Israeli companies in the Palestinian territory is illegal and must be removed,” Zuheiri said.
He added, however, that the Israelis agreed to give the Palestinian companies exclusive frequencies to be used in the Palestinian territory. There will be also frequencies used in Israel by both Palestinian and Israeli companies.
The officials also discussed the possibility to allow the Palestinian service provider al-Wataniya to operate in the Gaza Strip. Israel has prohibited access to the Gaza Strip
since 2009 for the company, when it started providing services in the West Bank.
“We submitted a list of the equipment that the company needs to be allowed into Gaza, but the Israelis said the request would be passed to the Israeli political echelon for approval," Zuheiri said.
As part of the Oslo Accords, Israel has control over which radio frequencies to allocate in the occupied West Bank.