Israeli mobile phone users may remember the arduous struggle against the high connectivity fees charged by cellular providers which ended with an order by Minister of Communications at the time Moshe Kahlon for a 72% cut in connectivity rates in 2011.
An OECD survey published last week reveals that the tariff cut positions Israel in the second place in connectivity rates, after the US; however, the connectivity rates in the US are determined by agreements between the carriers hence, Israel is the OECD country with the lowest connectivity fees set by a regulator.
Connectivity fees are indirect charges for text messages sent from one mobile network to another.
Former Communications Minister Ariel Atias set the connectivity fee reform in motion; however, Moshe Kahlon is credited with the rate reduction. Israel's large mobile carriers Cellcom, Partner and Pelephone opposed the drastic cuts and have even appealed to the High Court of Justice, which ruled against the claim and in early 2011 ordered the charge reduction according to a graded scheme that will end in 2014.
An OECD connectivity rate survey held in May 2011 shows that the average rate for OECD members, as of last year, was 6.5 US cents while the average charge in Israel was 2.03 cents. Chile was found to have the highest connectivity rate among OECD members at 16.5 cents. In 2004, the average tariff in OECD countries was 19 per minute.
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