Jawwal, the mobile phones unit of the Palestine Telecommunications Company (Paltel), is being spun off into an independent company, with a $35.21 million capital base.
According to Hakam Kanafani, Paltel’s managing director, Jawwal will operate as an independent corporate structure, with independent financing, marketing, engineering and customer service. This has always been part of the company’s strategy, he added, and the plan was being forwarded despite the Palestinian uprising, which has been raging since last October.
Jawwal, which currently has a subscriber base of 80,000, is in the midst of an $11-million expansion program, with the aim of increasing the number of subscribers to 200,000 by the end of the year, and up to 450,000 by 2002-end. It currently holds approximately 25 percent of the Palestinian cellular market, with the remaining operated through Israeli networks.
According to Kanafani, only 8,000-9,000 people who own Jawwal cell phones pay through a regular bill, with the majority using Jawwal with telephone pre-paid cards.
Paltel announced February 14, a cut in prices of its Jawwal cell phone cards and unit prices of calls. The prices will be cut by more than half for the first 30 seconds of the call and then by 25 percent for every 12 seconds after the initial 30 seconds. Subscribers will also get free services such as voice mail but will pay for the call to retrieve the voice mail.
Paltel, which currently owns 65 percent of Jawwal, is traded on the Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE). The remaining 35 percent of Jawwal’s shares are held by the independently-owned Palestinian Commercial Services Company. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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