Golan Telecom Ltd. has petitioned the High Court of Justice to extend the company's exemption from obtaining building permits for small cellular antennas (wireless access facilities). The current exemption expires on September 30, and the company is worried that it will not be able to continuing building cellular antennas, which will damage its ability to meet its promise given when it won the tender to establish a mobile network.
In the petition, Golan Telecom states that it already has 708 cellular antennas, compared with more than 1,480 for each of the three veteran mobile carriers. The carrier says that it is in an inferior position vis-à-vis the veteran carriers because they built most of their networks on regular sites, not wireless access facilities, and it is no longer possible to obtain building permits for new sites. It adds that this means that it cannot keep its promise to build a network of at least 2,500 sites to provide nationwide coverage.
The veteran carriers - Cellcom Israel Ltd. (NYSE:CEL; TASE:CEL), Partner Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; TASE: PTNR), and Pelephone Communications Ltd. - did not receive exemptions for building permits for wireless access facilities, and they face a very serious problem because they need many more antennas to solve their shortage of frequencies.
The other new carrier, HOT Mobile Ltd., has also petitioned the High Court of Justice to extend its exemption from building permits, and its situation is similar to that of Golan Telecom.
Everyone is now waiting for the state's position in the case. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein does not want to extend the exemption, and wants the carriers to apply to build antennas through the usual procedures.
The Ministry of Communications supports the carriers and wants the extension to be extended, because it understands their distress, and admits that they cannot meet their commitments to build nationwide networks within seven years.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 24, 2013
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