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McClatchy-Tribune  08/03/2014 3:39 PM ET
Hot Mobile leads subscriber recruitment in July [Globes, Tel Aviv, Israel :: ]

Aug. 03--The big winner in the cellular wars in July was HOT Mobile Ltd., which outperformed its rival, Golan Telecom Ltd., in net subscriber recruitment. The most prominent development in July, however, was the big loser: Cellcom Israel Ltd. (NYSE:CEL; TASE:CEL), which lost an exceptionally high number of subscribers, compared with its competitors. The reason for Cellcom's awful results is unclear, but given the fact that Pelephone Communications Ltd. gained subscribers, it appears that Cellcom is in trouble.

Hot Mobile recruited significantly more subscribers than Golan Telecom, despite continued losses of subscribers to other companies, an impressive achievement. Both companies are conducting aggressive bargain campaigns, increasing the number of their subscribers, while the older companies are still losing ground.

Cellcom's subscriber losses are posing a difficult problem to the company. While Pelephone is growing, thanks to a focused and aggressive subscriber retention campaign, Cellcom is losing almost 14,000 subscribers. Partner Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; TASE: PTNR), on the other hand, recruited about the same number of subscribers, but Cellcom's results, given the company's bargain specials, such as no payment for children up to age 14 during the year, are ominous.

Following several months of massive subscriber losses, YouPhone managed to break even in July. The company launched a bargain campaign in competition with Golan Telecom thereby boosting its recruitment. Recruitment by Rami Levy, which competes with Alon Cellular in the virtual operators sector, continues to stagnate, and is obviously having difficulty competing with the campaigns by the major players.


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