An International Press Review – Israeli Telecommunication Sector
During the recent months, the international general and professional press has continued an extensive coverage of the Israeli telecom sector. The topics that have gained most of the media’s attention were:
· Developments at the Israeli home telecommunication market
· Israeli telecom exports to emerging markets
· Industry mergers and acquisitions
Beyond the 100% penetration rate
The total number of mobile telephone subscribers in Israel has exceeded 8 million, more than one handset per capita. The next generation network (NGN) services are aggressively offered by all four cellular operators and enthusiastically accepted by customers.
With the Internet penetration rate in excess of 51% and the 38.8 monthly hours online per unique user (world’s second figure after Canada), the country’s innovation-minded population provides a ready home test ground for the local vendors of telecom equipment and such technologies as VoIP, VoB and WiMAX. However, some regulatory and licensing issues in this field remain to be speeded up, including the delayed implementation of mobile number portability.
Focus on Asia
The emerging telecom markets of India, China, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and other Asian countries continue to be a prime Israeli telecom export target. Voice & Data, India’s leading telecom magazine, ranked ECI Telecom as the #1 transmission equipment vendor in India for the second year in a row. ECI not only maintained its ranking but also increased its overall transmission market share in India. The country’s ambitious plans of bringing Internet to rural communities involve partnering with Israeli companies. The deals have been extensively covered by the Indian press.
Many Israeli vendors are actively participating in building the fast-growing telecom infrastructure in China, as continuously reported by the Chinese and international media.
Telecom companies changing hands
The recent big news was the ECI’s acquisition by private investors for the reported $1.2 billion and, in turn, its selling off manufacturing factories to global contract-manufacturing giant Flextronics – all that following the ECI’s entering into strategic partnership with Motorola. A multi-year agreement provides Motorola with an access to ECI’s portfolio of proven, carrier class access infrastructure products.
As reported by the professional press, several Israeli startups have recently been purchased by the USA companies, including Topio’s buying by Network Appliance, while AOL acquired Relegence.