Israel's communications ministry has postponed the sale of additional frequencies to the cellular companies due to the unrest in the Palestinian territories, reported Haaretz newspaper.
The ministry had planned to allocate a 1 megahertz band that is currently being used by the police and defense establishment, said the paper, adding that according to the plan, millions of shekels are to be invested to enable the defense forces to transfer to a different frequency band, while freeing this band for civilian use.
Cellcom company lobbied hard for this transfer, since it is expecting to find itself with a frequency shortfall next year, Haaretz said.
Partner and Pele-Phone companies have also expressed their interest in acquiring some of the frequencies that the defense forces are supposed to release.
The ministry's director-general, Danny Rosen, confirmed to the paper Sunday that the defense establishment had announced that it was deferring the planned transfer of frequencies "until the security situation changes."
As a result, Cellcom is seeking temporary solutions to its frequency shortage, including the installation of additional antennas, he said. But the company would encounter regulatory obstacles as well as public opposition to antenna installations near residential areas.
The deferred plan for the frequencies used by the defense establishment is not related to the tender for "third-generation frequencies" that the ministry is slated to conduct at the beginning of 2001, Haaretz added.
The ministry told the paper that it is enlarging the scope of the tender to enable four companies to operate third-generation cellular technologies - Albawaba.com
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