Communications Ministry denies moves to raise cellular prices

The director of the Communications Ministry scrambles to explain statements he made in an interview with Bloomberg published Monday.

In a statement, Shlomo Filber clarifies that while he believes prices in the mobile phone market are too low, he does not think it is a regulatory issue but rather something to be sorted out by the forces of the market.

In the statement he claims that some of the quotes attributed by Bloomberg to him were “inaccurate.”

“The prices in the country are lower than what’s needed,” he says in his clarification. “For the sake of comparison, in Europe they’re 20 euros [a month per phone line].”

But, he adds, “the prices in the market are determined through free competition, and I don’t decide what they will be.”

Israeli flags are seen inside the 'Partner Orange' Communications Company offices in the city of Rosh Ha'ayin, Israel, Thursday, June 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
Israeli flags are seen inside the ‘Partner Orange’ Communications Company offices in the city of Rosh Ha’ayin, Israel, Thursday, June 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

The Bloomberg piece had indicated that Filber’s stance was a departure from that of some of his predecessors in the ministry — who led reforms that introduced new players to the market, thus bringing on a radical reduction in prices — and implied that regulatory moves to correct the prices could be in the offing.

“OECD prices are around 20 euros (86 shekels), and we should aim for that level,” he was quoted by Bloomberg as saying.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is Israel’s communications minister, among several other cabinet roles.

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