GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian cellular providers Jawwal and Wataniya Mobile will launch 3G mobile networks for customers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank by the end of January, an official said on Monday.
Suleiman al-Zuhairi, Deputy Minister of Telecommunication in the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA), told Reuters the two companies will be launching the service simultaneously having recently received a green light from Israel.
In 2015, Israel and the PA signed an agreement to allow 3G networks to operate in the West Bank, but the implementation was delayed by Israel, al-Zuhairi said.
COGAT, Israel’s military liaison agency with the PA, said in an email to Reuters it had been working on the project for the past year and a half according to the pace of regulatory and technological progress. Under interim peace deals Israel has final say in allocating radio frequencies in the West Bank and Gaza. 3G is mobile phone technology that allows users to make calls, texts and access the internet. 2G allows calls and limited data transmission.
The 3G service will not be extended into the Gaza Strip at this stage, said Suleiman al-Zuhairi.
Wataniya Mobile and Jawwal presently offer only 2G services in Gaza. Entry of third-generation mobile network equipment is dependent on Israel, which regards Hamas, the dominant armed power in the enclave, as a terrorist group.
Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Maayan Lubell; Editing by Ari Rabinovitch and David Evans