Cellcom, one of Israel's leading mobile phone operators, has won the IDF and Defense Ministry's cellular tender for the next three years, beating both Orange and Pelephone.
Cellcom signed a deal this week with a seven year extension option. The deal is estimated at tens of thousands of subscribers.
The bid is expected to dramatically reduce the cost of mobile phone costs for IDF soldiers and officers, saving the State tens of millions a year. The communication's package offered by Cellcom is the least expensive in Israel's cellular market.
Cellcom will replace Mirs, which has been supplying cellular services to the IDF in recent years.
The Defense Ministry had been gearing up for the bid for the past months. It was headed by Defense Ministry's acquisitions division Director Shmuel Tzuker and Eliezer Hasson of the intelligence and teleprocessing branch.
"The decision to go with Cellcom is the most qualitative and economical choice for the officers and soldiers of the IDF," Tzuker explained. "We got the best price in the market in this tender. We have dramatically improved the current prices."
Mirs is out of game
Mirs was unable to make an offer as it could not meet the terms of the tender issued by the IDF back in January.
The terms of the bid called for a cellular company which has been providing 3rd generation mobile telecommunications for at least nine months prior to the publication of the tender, with at least 350,000 clients. Despite having some 480,000 subscribers, Mirs does not offer advanced 3G services.
Mirs has earned between NIS 108-139 ($29-$37) million, comprising about 10.6%-13.5% of its revenue.
Cellcom's new CEO Nir Stern said: "Israel's largest cellular family is expanding. We're proud of the IDF's decision to chose Cellcom as its cellular provider."
Yoav Zitun contributed to this report