Cellcom, Israel's largest mobile operator, reported a 17.9 per cent rise in its second-quarter net profit to NIS 79 million (€17 million/$23 million) thanks to cost-cutting measures in what is still a very competitive market.
Reuters reported that the net profit was just ahead of the NIS 76 million forecast in its poll of analysts. Rival operator Pelephone, which is owned by the incumbent operator Bezeq, recently reported a 34 per cent drop in its quarterly profit, Reuters also noted.
Cellcom, which has just launched its first commercial LTE services, said EBITDA fell by 7.4 per cent to NIS 314 million, while revenue was down by 6.3 per cent at NIS 1.158 billion.
The subscriber base stood at 3.03 million at the end of the second quarter, after falling by 20,000 customers during the three-month period.
Looking ahead, Cellcom said it expects a temporary but substantial decrease in revenue from national roaming services until the approval of a network sharing agreement with Golan Telecom. Once approved, Cellcom's agreement with its smaller rival will enable Golan Telecom to use Cellcom's LTE network and its existing 2G and 3G networks
Earlier in August, Cellcom launched LTE services in Israel on a limited basis after the government gave its approval for the country's three main network operators to use 5 MHz of the 1800 MHz frequency band. Both Pelephone and Partner Communications have also launched early LTE services, ahead of the award of new LTE spectrum later this year.
The Ministry of Communications issued a tender for 1800 MHz frequencies at the beginning of July. The results of the tender are expected to be announced by the end of the year.
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