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Israel

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BasicsEdit

Israel has a complicated phone market for foreigners. Basically, it has three historical network operators:

  • Cellcom
  • Orange
  • Pelephone

In 2012 two further operators won licenses for 3G frequencies:

  • Hot Mobile
  • Golan Telecom

And last but not least, some MVNOs like Ramy Levy, Home Cellular and You Phone operate on the historical networks.

With this phone market revolution in 2012 the market shifted from the historical operators to MVNOs and to the two new arrivals who undercut the rates of the big three. Now, there is a catch for visitors to it:

Only the three historical operators and some MVNOs sell prepaid SIM cards, Hot Mobile and Golan Telecom only have contracts. These contracts can be cancelled anytime by free will. In the past however, these options were open only to Israeli citizens (or permanent residents, or other holders of government-issued Israeli ID card) provided that they pay with an Israeli-issued credit card. In addition, Hot Mobile's physical presence is very limited, and Golan does not have physical presence at all, although you can buy the SIM card at many gas stations and convenience stores and register it through their website with an Israeli ID number. But this has changed now: Golan at least accepts since 2013 foreign passports and credit cards.

Be aware, that networks are on different frequencies and compare it with those of your device:

Network Cellcom Orange Pele- phone Hot Mobile Golan Telecom
2G 1800 900, 1800 n/a Orange Cellcom
3G 850, 2100 900, 2100 850, 2100 2100 2100
4G/LTE 1800 1800, 2600 1800 n/a 1800

An Israeli SIM card costs nowadays around NIS 40-50 on prepaid or contract. Israeli regulations permit a line to be disconnected after 12 months of no use.

Cellcom Edit

Cellcom

Cellcom is one of the historical providers. Shops and reloads can be found everywhere.

Cellcom's prepaid plan is called "TalkMan". Pay as you go rate for data is NIS 3 per day for up to 10 MB or NIS 10 per day for up to 50 MB, so buy packages.

Data feature packs Edit

  • 5 GB per month: 99 NIS
  • 10 GB per month: 129 NIS
  • "unlimited" (= 15 GB): 149 NIS

More info Edit

Orange Edit

Orange UK

Orange is another historical provider. Their pay-as-you-go plan is called "BigTalk".

Availability Edit

99 NIS with no credit if bought directly from Orange retail outlets. 50 NIS including 40 NIS credit if bought at any participating post office. There's a post office on the upper floor of Terminal 3 in Ben-Gurion International airport where most flights to Israel land. This SIM card can also be bought from the English site of the Israel post (link), the shipping cost is less than 10.5 NIS worldwide.

It's best to add money to your account using cash or card in person at a post office or phone shop, recharging with a credit card via the phone is only possible for Israeli residents as you need an Israeli ID card number. There is a 7 NIS service charge added to the cost of every top up.

You can also buy Orange sim cards in many cellphones shops and retailers around Israel for 30~40 NIS without any credit on them.

Data Only feature packs Edit

Using data without a plan: 4 NIS/MB, the rate is very high, do not use data without a plan.

Data Price Valid Comments
1GB 59 NIS 30 days
3GB 79 NIS 30 days
5GB 99 NIS 30 days
8GB 99 NIS 14 days
16GB 149NIS 30 days

make sure to tell the person who recharges your credit that you need data only, there are several packages at the same price but without data package, ending up with high rate per MB.

Data + Calls feature packs

All calls and sms are for use Inside Israel only, bonus credit can be used to call outside Israel.

Price Calls + SMS Data Bonus Valid Comments
29NIS unlimited 100MB - 2 days
50NIS unlimited 200MB - 7 days
70NIS 400 + 400 500MB - 30 days
75NIS 250 + 250 1GB 40 NIS 30 days
125NIS unlimited 4GB 25 NIS 7 days
140NIS unlimited 3GB - 30 days
150NIS unlimited in orange 4GB 100 NIS 30 days additional 250 NIS for use in Israel
160NIS unlimited 6GB - 30 days

make sure to tell the person who recharges your credit that you need data only, there are several packages at the same price but without data package, ending up with high rate per MB.

More info Edit

  • APN: uinternet

(updated 22/05/15)

Pelephone Edit

Pelephone

Pelephone used to be a CDMA network and is now a hybrid CDMA / UMTS network. This means only GSM-phones supporting the 3G 850 and 2100 MHz frequency can use it, and it has no 2G coverage or fallback for GSM phones. Check your device to make sure it supports the frequencies mentioned

Pelephone's pay-as-you-go plan is called "Talk & Go".

Data Only feature packs Edit

For cellphones only:

  • 2GB : 50 NIS
  • 6GB : 89 NIS
  • 16GB : 150 NIS

For cellular modems only:

  • 3GB : 69 NIS
  • 10GB : 125 NIS

Data + Calls feature packs

  • 59 NIS : Unlimited calls and sms inside Israel + 3GB data
  • 79 NIS : Unlimited calls and sms inside Israel + 6GB data

More info Edit

(updated 22/05/15)

Golan Telecom Edit

Golan telecom

Golan started in 2013 the price war. They offer hybrid pre/postpaid contracts for a fraction of the traditional providers. They are now the best option for tourists in the country.

Initially SIMs for Golan were only available through their website (www.golantelecom.co.il) but they can now be obtained in most malls in "BUG" or "Best Mobile" stores: Full retailers list. SIM card costs a 49 NIS startup price.

International credit card and PayPal are accepted and since 2013 officially foreign passports too: see here

There is a national (within Israel) roaming agreement between Golan Telecom and Cellcom. So you get full coverage, but you may need to enable data roaming on your phone to get stable internet connection all over Israel, don't worry it won't cost you extra. In December 2014 it started 4G/LTE on 1800 Mhz.

Plans Edit

All plans have a one-time handling fee of 49 NIS for starting up.

Unlimited everything with 6 GB and free unlimited international calls (landlines to some 55 other countries, to call add "00" before the regular country code+number) costs 59 NIS per month for the first year and 99 NIS afterwards.

3 GB are for 37 NIS per month, including unlimited domestic calls and text.

Alternatively there is a 9.99 NIS plan that has 60 min domestic voice, unlimited domestic SMS and 100 MB data, and afterwards your credit card is charged according to the usage (0.18 NIS/min, 0.09 NIS/MB).

The company works with charge cycle in the 25th-24th day, in the 25th they charge the full price for the incoming month (no matter if you leave meanwhile), the advantage for tourists is the basically if you join and leave between the 26 to the 24 you pay nothing but the SIM price. For example: you joined the 5th day and left in the 20th, then you will be charged only for the SIM.

Disconnection Edit

To disconnect when you're done, log in to your account on golantelecom.co.il and hit your language at the top and "My Account". Login using the username & password you received when you bought the SIM). Then select "My Lines", and choose: "Line Disconnection" (this form needs to be posted or emailed to Golan). Alternatively, you can change to the NIS 9.90/month plan, when you leave and intend to come back some time later, as this keeps the SIM alive for 2 €/$ per month forever.

Note that upon logging in for the first time, you'll need to enter the last four digits of your payment method and passport number. If your passport number has letters in it, just write the numbers, e.g. for AB1234 just write 1234.

More info Edit

  • APN: internet.golantelecom.net.il
  • Website in English (change at top left): Company website

Hot Mobile Edit

Hot mobile

Hot Mobile started together with Golan the telecom revolution in Israel in 2012.

Hot Mobile has UMTS 2100 only but and there are national roaming agreements between Hot Mobile to Pelephone and Orange so you get full coverage, you may need to enable data roaming on your phone to get stable internet connection all over Israel, don't worry it won't cost extra.

Hot Mobile has only pre/postpaid contracts like Golan. They demand an Israeli ID number. If you don't have one, you can think of one online. They accept international credit cards.

The SIM card is 39.90 NIS (without credit), data by default is 0.13 NIS/MB.

Plans Edit

These monthly data-only plans can be purchased:

  • 3 GB: 39 NIS
  • 5 GB: 45 NIS
  • 8 GB: 69 NIS

Note that the SIM is much harder to handle with a fake ID number and harder to disconnect as well, so tourists may prefer Golan and Hot Mobile is only recommended if a local assists you.

You PhoneEdit

You phone

You Phone was a MVNO that used the 2G/3G network of Orange which offers a prepaid plan called "Pretalk". In 2015 Pelephone has purchased You Phone and customers will be migrated to the Pelephone network.

A SIM card costs 49 ILS and comes loaded with 150 units (domestic voice mins/sms/MB)..There are many places where you can buy the SIM and load up the card: Mega supermarkets, AM/PM supermarkets, many post offices, Alonit convinience stores in Dor-Alon gas stations.

Data feature packs Edit

  • 1 GB for 30 days: 39 NIS
  • 3 GB for 30 days: 69 NIS

Default rate for data outside of package is 0.25 NIS per MB.

More infos Edit

Rami-Levy Mobile Edit

Ramy levy

Rami-Levy Mobile started in 2011 and has been the first MVNO in Israel and remains the only independent right now. It's using the UMTS network of Pelephone (see above for frequencies).

Rami-Levy is a big supermarket chain and can be found in suburban shopping areas. The inconvenience with Rami Levy is that the SIM cards and top ups can be purchased only at the chain's supermarkets, mostly in suburban shopping areas and a handful other networks such as the Ivory computer stores: List in Hebrew

The card costs NIS 49, there is a monthly fee of NIS 4.90 as long as your balance is positive.

Data feature packs Edit

These packages are valid for one month:

  • Data 1 GB: 19.90 NIS
  • Data 3 GB: 39.90 NIS
  • Data 5 GB: 49.90 NIS

Data outside ouf packages is 0.29 NIS per GB

More info Edit

Home Cellular (h mobile)Edit

Home Cellular

Home Cellular was a MVNO that uses the 2G/3G network of Cellcom. In 2015 Cellcom acquired Home Cellular.

Home Celluar (or h-mobile) is a brand of Home Center, a DIY store chain that can be found in suburban shopping areas.

Their "Powercard" SIM is 29 NIS and default data: 0.50 NIS / MB.

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