June 6, 2018 / 8:39 AM / 4 months ago

Regulator says Bezeq wholesale phone reform must start in August

TEL AVIV, June 6 (Reuters) - Bezeq Israel Telecom said on Wednesday it has been notified by the Communications Ministry that starting in August it will have to make its telephony service available for leasing to smaller competitors.

Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecoms provider, has argued this wholesale reform would be technologically complicated as it requires replacing switches.

“Accordingly, the company anticipates that it will not be able to meet the timetable that was set,” Bezeq said in a statement, adding that it would discuss a solution with the ministry.

Bezeq said it expects this will have a negative impact on its financial results but cannot yet estimate the extent.

Bezeq is one of two companies providing telecoms infrastructure nationwide, although it is the main player.

Barclays analyst Tavy Rosner estimated that retail telephony accounts for about 10 percent of Bezeq’s revenue and the financial impact on Bezeq will depend on wholesale pricing and potential subscribers’ churn. He noted that the offerings of rivals Cellcom and Partner already include voice over internet protocol (VoIP). (Reporting by Tova Cohen Editing by Steven Scheer)

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