Version 1.1 27 October 1996: Original and corrections:
Version 1.2 26 November 1996: Bringing in a phone for Pellephone.
Version 1.3 03 December 1996: More bringing in a phone for Pellephone. Mango vs Mango Pro. PCS phones.
Version 1.4 08 December 1996: Price Wars.
Version 1.5 11 May 1997: General update.
Version 1.6 19 May 1997 Pellephone Approved List.
Version 1.7 8 June 1997 New Bezeq Rates calling cell phones.
Version 1.8 1 September 1997 New Pelephone service.
Version 1.9 November 1997 Talkman, other bargains.
Version 1.9.1 March 1998 Minor changes.
In Israel there a 2 celluar phone companies. The oldest is called Pelephone and they are affiliated with Motorola and Bezeq. If you ask about a Motorola phone, it is assumed that you are refering to Pelephone. A thrid license has been issued to the PARTNER GROUP, but as of March 1998, they have announced no information about their network or service.
Pelephone is owned by Motorola and Bezeq. Pelephone favors Motorola telephones, but some others are available. They use the NAMPS systems. These systems use FM radio and produce clear sound. They only permit one call per channel. In the U.S. NAMPS was abandoned for the older AMPS system (which uses wider channels) because of noise and fading.
Pelephone has the most cells in Israel and therefore the best coverage. If you plan to be traveling all over the country on business, this is your best choice.
The other company is called Cell-Com. They use the TDMA system which is time multiplexed (shared) digital. During an off period their sound quality is as good as or better than Pelephone. At three pm in Tel-Aviv the sound quality is terrible. TDMA will produce "drop outs" where the signal disappears for a short time.
Imeditatley after the bombing at Cafe' Apropo in Tel-Aviv, the Cell-com system "collapsed" and was totally unavailable for a while. Pelephone users received busy signals, but they were able to get through.
Note that TDMA phones cannot be used for fax or modem connections, so if you expect to get your email over your cell phone, stick with Pelephone though you may be limited to 9600 baud.
The quality of phones is quite different, both Pelephone and Cell-Com use Ericson, Nokia, AT&T and Motorola phones
In my opinion the quality of the phones are Motorala is by far the best and Nokia is the worst. One tachlis member said that they felt the Ericson phones had the worst user interface and display in the industry. Another recommend the Ericson 353. I had trouble reading the display on the 353.
In Israel, you buy your own phone and then the service provider programs it. If you buy it from the service provider or an authorized dealer it comes pre-programed and are activated by the dealer making a phone call. It takes about 10 minutes
Cell-com will activate a phone brought to them for 150 and if you take it to the right place activate it on the spot.
The price of phones varies. The Motorola Micro-Tac phones sell for about 4,000 NIS ($1300). The Cell-Com Nokia phones cost about 2400 NIS ($800) and the AT&T costs about 2100 NIS ($700). This is due to the new treaty which removed import duty on U.S. products, of which the AT&T is one.
Pelephone now sells a Motorola "flipper" for about 1400 NIS. I saw them in Super-Pharm for about 1380 They can also be bought for 499 if you agree to keep the "line" for 12 months.
Cell-Com just started a payment plan of 12 payments of 139 sheckels ($45) a month for the AT&T phone 1668 NIS ($521) total. In order to get it you need an Israeli credit card. If you have only a U.S. credit card, you will be charged the full amount for the first payment.
Just in time for Chanukah 1996, Cellcom announced two things: The first is that starting in Februrary 1997, air time will double to .44nis a minute. The second was a 999 nis phone special.
The next day, Pelephone countered with a 299 NIS Nokia phone offer. You must agree to keep the phone line active for a year. They sold 8,000 phones the first day. This offer was available until they run out of phones. It has since been replaced with other phones, at 399 and up.
Coincidentaly, the same week, the fine for using a cellular phone while driving was raised to 750 NIS. If you want to talk on the phone in your car, you must purchase a "hands-free" device which turns your phone into a speakerphone. A few weeks later the head of the police was forced to fine himself as he was observed talking into a hand-held celular phone while driving.
The current bargin Pelephone is a Motorola DPC-550 for 399 NIS. You must agree to keep it for a year
Cell-Com has a Pelephone trade in. You get a Nokia phone and high capacity battery. I think it is 399 NIS.
There are other cheap phones around. You can get a Nokia or Ericson phone for 99 NIS + vat if you have enough "points" with CO-OP or Visa. You can also get them for the 99 NIS if you buy various objects. A friend got one because his father bought a watch.
Pelephone will activate NAMPS phones brought in from outside, here
is their answer to my query about activating Motorola NAMPS phones
I brought in from the U.S.:
Yes, you can activate them by going to the nearest Service Station in your area. The address is:
Haoman 28, Talpiot Industrial Area, 02-6783646
They are open 7.30 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday.
You will get an immediate line and the charge is N.I.S. 320 + tax.
There are 2 caveats to this. The phone must be on their "approved" list, which is included below. I tried to activate 2 phones. One was a Micro-TAC lite. It was not on their list, but the techinican said it was ok. The second phone was a DPC-550, "Bell Atlantic Special Edition, Digital Messenger". It had the word "DIGITAL" on it and was therefore not acceptable. If it did not say digital they would have tested it and found that it was ok.
The second caveat is that if you are not a "citizen of Israel" as proven by having a Tudat Ze'hut, there is a 2000 NIS deposit for air time.
In Israel, there are no airtime charges for incoming calls. All cellular hones are in a special area code, so that the price of the call is bourne by the caller. The outgoing calls are charged by the minute.
Pelephone day .67 NIS/min, night .37 NIS/min
75NIS/mon for the "line"
Cell-com: .41 NIS/min .33 NIS/min 9:30pm -7 am
19.4 NIS monthly.
Cell-com has an interesting rate clause in their license and contracts. They state the "first year the fee is .08nis min with no monthly charge, the second year....". It turns out that the charges were estimated and the year is year of licensure. Cell-com is now in their third year, with the prices changing 1 February. The estimated fee for year 3 was .36 nis a minute.
My guess was that Feburary 1998 will bring them on par with Pele-phone. I was wrong. They did not raise their rates. With a third company on the horizion, I now guess that they will not raise them and may even lower them in Februrary 1999.
There also is a third option. Pelephone sells a phone called a Mango. The latest version called the "Mango Pro" sells for 835 NIS It is a Motorola phone. Like all Pelephones, it receives calls free of charge. You also may call police, ambulance and fire for free. One number may be designated and that number can be called for about 44 agarot a minute peak and 22 agarot off peak.
Mangos can receive calls out of the box. Once you send in the warranty card with billing information, it takes about a week to get the "one number" activated.
The original Mango is also available for 699 NIS or 7 payments of 99 NIS.
The Mango uses a special battery, which is charged in 10 hours by the phone. It does not use standard Motorola accessories. The Mango Pro uses the same batteries, accessories, etc as the Motorola "flip" phones.
If you wish to call other numbers on your Mango, you need to get a BEZEQCARD which costs 12.75 NIS one-time. Calls on your Bezeqcard are 1.27 NIS a minute peak and 34 agarot off-peak. I was not able to get a Bezeqcard as I did not have a real phone, but my complaints were heard and that has changed. Several people living at Mercatz Klitah Ranana have gotten Bezeqcards.
Sadly, there are no Mango instructions available in English. AFIK, there is an 8 NIS per month fee for having the Mango.
There is now a new option called the "Mango UP" the monthly fee is higher, 17 nis. You can now designate 3 numbers instead of one. You now longer need a BezeqCard, but the high rates for the other numbers are still in effect. When I had my Mango "up'ed" it took about 10 minutes to have the changes go into effect.
Yonason Freedenberg wrote about Cell-Com's "mango" in tachlis:
"Cell-Com now has their Mango called a Talkman. A talkman is a cellular
phone without any monthly payment. You get it with a 10
N.I.S. card, and from then on when you get down to under three
N.I.S. you buy a new card to make calls. if you don't buy
a new cord for 60 days after you use up your last card,
you can't receive calls either until you buy a new card.
The cards are sold at five N.I.S. more then their talk time,
for V.A.T. or something like that. The cards for sale are 50
(55) N.I.S., 100 (105) N.I.S., & 200 (205) N.I.S., But if
you go to Sha'ar
Shachem (Jerusalem) by the Arabs there is a store that sells also 10 (13.5) N.I.S. cards."
Both Cell-Com and Pelephone require an Israeli checking account or credit card to bill your time to. If you buy a talkman you don't need a checking account.
I have heard that ABC and others sell Cell-com phones that are already activated.
Steps to get cellular phone service in Israel.
1. Decide which phone and service you want.
2. If you are importing the phone, buy it before you leave.
You will be charged Meches, unless you bring it in your original luggage.
3. When you arrive, Open a checking account.
(See other information about AACI discounts.)
4. If you plan to use the payment plan, request an Israeli Visa card. This will take about a week, but it may require a large deposit in your checking account.
5. Buy the phone.
5a. Take phone to Cell-Com or Pelephone for activation.
BTW, There is a Cell-Com cell at Moshav Modi'in, so if you are planing to move to Modi'in, their service is excelent.
Note PCS phones, now common in parts of the United States are NOT usable on either Pelephone or Cellcom networks.
The following list of Pele-Phone approved phones was provided by Rob Slater, on 19 May 1997. Thanks, Rob.
Rehov Ahad-Ha'am 9
Migdol Shalom -- Floor 10
Tel Aviv 61290
(03) 519-8103 (Fax)
Manufacturer Type of Model Number Ministry of Communications
Cellular Phone Authorization #
Motorola DPC550 76137WNRSC
Motorola MANGO 76196WNNBB 009-96
Motorola DPC550 76307WNRBC 046-96
Motorola ALPHA F09HLD8343
Motorola ALPHA F09HLD8344 222-94
Motorola ALPHA F09HLD8395 210-94
Motorola ULTRALITE F09HLD8339 028-93
Motorola LITE F09HLD8363 078-94
Motorola LITE F09HLD8383 076-94
Motorola LITE F09HLD8393 077-94
Motorola LITE F09HLD8393BG 101-93
Motorola HL200 F09QYD8337BG
Motorola BCX 9700 F09QYD8361 048-93
Motorola BCX 9700 F09QYD8363AG 044-94
Motorola BRONZE F09QYD8372 001-95
Motorola BCX 9700 F09QYD8395 073-94
Motorola LITE S2851C
Motorola 3600 PORTABLE S2936 067-93
Motorola ALPHA M1950 S2965 122-95
Motorola DPC550 S2967A 191-94
Motorola DPC550 S2967B 004-96
Motorola 1500 MICRO S2968A 192-94
Motorola 9800 XL S3115
Motorola ULTRALITE S3123A 030-93
Motorola POCKET CLASSIC S3261 096-93
Motorola PRISM S3724A 187-94
Motorola PRISM S3732A 190-94
Motorola ELITE S3924A 004-95
Motorola ELITE S3927A 003-95
Motorola POCKET CLASSIC S4042A
Motorola LITE XL S4717A 149-96
Motorola STARTAC S4982A 089-96
Motorola MANGO-PRO S4983A 178-96
Motorola MICRO-TAC ELITE S4984A 185-96
Motorola LITE VIP S5016A
Motorola MANGO S5044A 010-96
Motorola MANGO (YELLOW) S5082A 066-96
Motorola MANGO (PURPLE) S5083A 067-96
Motorola FX 2500 S5248A 134-96
N.B.: The original list was printed on Ministry of Communications
letterhead. It only contains Motorola phones for use on the
Analog (NAMPS) Pelephone system.
CALLS TO CELLULAR PHONES --- (050) and (052) area codes
Thanks to Gershom (Jan M.L. Martin)
Price per minute in shekel. The first part is Bezeq connection,
part is "air time" (z'man avir) of the respective cellular provider.
(Incoming calls to a cellular phone are free to the recipient in Israel.)
07:30-08:00 0.105+0.67 0.105+0.41
08:00-20:00 0.145+0.67 0.145+0.41
20:00-21:30 0.105+0.67 0.105+0.41
21:30-07:30 0.105+0.34 0.105+0.41
Friday and eves of Holidays
07:30-08:00 0.105+0.67 0.105+0.41
07:30-13:00 0.105+0.67 0.105+0.41
13:00-16:00 0.105+0.67 0.105+0.41
16:00-07:30 0.105+0.34 0.105+0.41
Shabbat and holidays
00:00-24:00 0.105+0.34 0.105+0.41
Billing for calls to cellular phones is in 12-second increments.
I am not repsonible for errors. If you have any corrections or changes,
please email me at email@example.com.