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The Ministry of Communications published on Sunday a long-awaited tender for the construction of fifth-generation mobile networks, which offers government incentives worth NIS 500 million ($ 140 million) to the winning bidders.
The fifth generation cellular network technology, known as 5G, offers navigation speeds approximately 20 times faster than current 4G networks.
"This is a technological movement that will leave its mark in the coming decades," said Communications Minister David Amsalem. "The entry of this new 5G technology will start the smart digital revolution that will affect all aspects of our lives: smart homes, smart cities, smart medicine, bringing the periphery closer to the center, education, autonomous vehicles, advanced industry and more. "
The frequencies offered by the tender, the ministry said, will expand the capacity of the network and respond to the growing demand for broadband communications.
The ministry will grant grants worth up to NIS 200m. ($ 56m.) For operators that build at least 250 5G transmit antennas.
In addition, while 5G networks could be launched as of next year, bid payments will be postponed until 2022 to give operators enough time to divert financial resources to improve their networks.
Existing Israeli mobile operators will be able to compete for the tender by submitting joint proposals to secure the bandwidth from 700 megahertz (MHz) and 2,600 MHz offered by the ministry.
The bandwidth of 3,500 to 3,600 MHz will be open to all bidders, which will encourage competition for services and 5G infrastructure.
"The financial strength of [Israeli cellular network] The companies at this time are not a secret, and the tender takes into account this situation, "said Amsalem.
According to a ministry report published earlier this month, the revenues of mobile phone companies fell by 5.6% in 2018, after suffering a decline of 4.5% in 2017.
The fall in revenue is largely attributable to the increase in tariff competition between companies and consumers who switch suppliers to almost unprecedented levels.
On April 5, South Korea became the first country to commercially implement 5G technology, as three mobile operators launched services. A couple of days later, US telecom giant Verizon launched its own service in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis.
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