Telecom Challenges that Anglos Living in Israel Face: Solutions and Workarounds
With limited English-language customer support, online content, and devices, navigating the telecom landscape in Israel can be nothing short of a nightmare.
You might be determined to overcome these challenges by learning Hebrew. While this is certainly a goal you should strive for, it has an inherent flaw. What will you do until then?
The problem is, you can’t really go a long time without telecom services. A fast and stable internet connection and reliable phone services are crucial to living and working in Israel. Not to mention staying in touch with your loved ones overseas.
So, what now?
Luckily, the answer is quite simple. Start by finding a telecom provider with English-speaking support (as tricky as it might be), and go from there.
This article will show you how to do just that, as well as how to overcome other pesky challenges, such as navigating Hebrew-language websites, avoiding hidden telecommunications fees, and keeping your personal information private.
Finding a Telecom Provider With English-Language Customer Service and Support
In a country where pretty much all of the residents exclusively rely on the official language – Hebrew – few telecom providers bother offering English-language customer service. And it certainly shows. Do one Google search, and you’ll know exactly what we mean.
Even if a provider advertises English-language customer service, it rarely satisfies your needs if it actually exists at all. If you’ve been in Israel long enough you’ll know that just because you “press one for English” doesn’t mean the person who answers will speak English.
In most cases, when you do get through to an English-speaking agent, they aren’t familiar with all the products and services the telecom provider offers. Or they work extremely limited hours. Or they aren’t fluent in English. So your questions mostly remain unanswered. Whatever the case, you’re usually right back where you started – with no understanding of what’s happening and what you’re signing up for.
Even some of Israel’s most popular telecom companies offer poor English-language customer service. Bezeq, Hot Net, Partner, and the list can go on and on.
Take Cellcom, for example. The company offers solid data plans and internet speed. Yet when it comes to English-speaking operators, they’re rarely at your disposal. The company and its partners blame this lack of availability on a work overload.
Whatever the reason, the fact of the matter is that not being able to reach your telecom provider promptly is a recipe for disaster.
To avoid getting a splitting headache every time you deal with customer service representatives who don’t speak English, try the following tips:
- Write down or memorize a list of basic phrases in Hebrew that can help you get ahold of English representatives faster. A simple “I don’t speak Hebrew” can immediately signal to the current representative to get some help.
- Find the company’s email and reach out to them in writing. You can even leave your phone number and request an English-speaking operator to call you.
- Use technology to your advantage. If you need a more immediate solution, tools like Google Translate can translate voice input. Use them to grasp the basic information the operator is sharing with you.
- Speak clearly and keep the phrasing simple. Some operators might understand English, and this will help them help you faster.
We also completely understand if you lack the time and patience to maneuver these critical calls. If so, we’ll offer you a simpler solution – TCS Telecom.
Why TCS, you might ask? Again, the answer is simple. TSC Telecom is a company that specializes in servicing Anglos. This means that everything, from the website and monthly bills to customer service, will be in English.
Navigating Hebrew-Language Menus and Interfaces on Your Phone and Other Devices
There are many differences between English and Hebrew. For starters, these languages use entirely different alphabets. If you were hoping to piece together the meaning of some words and sentences on Hebrew websites, the odds aren’t in your favor.
But when you go to translate the words before you, you’ll probably run into another problem. Unlike English, Hebrew is written from right to left. As silly as it sounds, this difference can significantly slow down the website-translation process.
But don’t give up just yet. Instead, use technology to your advantage.
Internet browsers like Google Chrome have a handy auto-translate feature built in. Loom for a pop-up window at the top of your screen, prompting you to switch to English.
Of course, this translation won’t be 100% accurate (or grammatically correct). But it will be clear enough to help you get by.
This feature is available on all Windows computers and Android devices.
If you’re using a Mac computer or an iOS device, your Safari browser should have a similar feature. Look for an aA button in the address bar and tap it to reach the “Translate to English” option.
Unfortunately, not all Hebrew websites will offer you this option. If so, you’ll need to do some manual work. Use one of these tools to translate Hebrew-language menus and interfaces:
- Google Translate. Don’t worry; we haven’t mentioned Google Translate again by mistake. Besides using it as an add-on, you can use Google Translate as an app to translate entire websites. Just copy the desired website link and paste it into Google Translate. You’ll receive a clickable link that takes you to a translated version of your website.
- Hebrew/English Translator. Being explicitly made to translate text from Hebrew to English, this app will provide higher accuracy. You can find it on the App Store and Google Play Store.
- Morfix. Morfix is Israel’s leading Hebrew-English (and vice-versa) translation website. This handy online tool accurately translates words, sentences, and expressions.
Staying Connected With Loved Ones Back Home
As exciting as making Aliyah is, chances are you had to leave most of your friends and family behind. Regular contact with them is crucial to living a happy and fulfilled life in Israel.
Sadly, sometimes this is easier said than done. Dial one wrong digit when calling an international number, and your phone bill can go through the roof.
To avoid these excessive charges, you can purchase a virtual foreign number that lets you make unlimited calls without worrying about the bill.
If you’re looking for a short-term solution for affordable international calls, consider the following two options:
- VoIP services. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology uses a broadband internet connection to place voice calls.
- Local SIM cards. Local SIM cards allow you to enjoy local rates when making calls and sending messages. You can purchase these cards from most mobile network providers in Israel. For more flexibility, consider an eSIM card.
Of course, if you’ve already set up a reliable internet connection at home, another affordable (or better yet, free) communication option is before you. Enter WhatsApp, Viber, Zoom, Skype, and numerous other internet-based communication tools.
Use these handy tools to talk to your loved ones, share pictures and messages, and text daily without constantly checking the bill.
Avoiding Hidden Fees and Charges
Picture this: you find a seemingly perfect provider that checks all the boxes for your telecom needs. But the first bill arrives, and the numbers you’re seeing just don’t add up.
Unfortunately, this happens often due to many hidden charges and fees telecom providers manage to get away with. Roaming charges, data overage charges, taxes, and surcharges. These are just some of the figures you can be surprised with.
To avoid these unpleasant surprises, ensure your chosen provider doesn’t bury any of these charges in their terms and conditions. TCS Telecom, for example, bills all services with VAT included and any hidden costs and surcharges excluded.
If you want to be extra careful, make sure to follow these guidelines:
- Use Wi-Fi whenever possible (private not public).
- Turn off roaming data.
- Monitor your data usage.
The Israeli government also takes pricing transparency seriously, introducing regulations to ensure fair pricing for all telecom providers.
Keeping Your Devices and Personal Information Secure
Connecting to a stable and reliable internet provider is a major part of your online journey in Israel. But so is ensuring that the connection is safe and protected.
Given how much we rely on technology, cyberattacks and data breaches constantly threaten our personal and professional lives. Just think about everything you hold in a tiny device like a smartphone. Financial data, passwords, and sensitive personal details, to name a few. If these were to fall into the wrong hands, you’d be exposed to numerous malicious activities, including theft and identity fraud.
To prevent these unfortunate scenarios from happening, make sure to follow these safety tips:
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks (unless you have a VPN).
- Use unique and complex passwords.
- Enable two-factor authentication.
- Avoid opening suspicious emails and messages.
- Keep all your devices up to date.
Like billing transparency, the Israeli government takes cyber security extremely seriously. There are several regulations in place to ensure maximum vigilance in this regard. These regulations include the Israeli Computers Law and the recently published Privacy Protection Bill.
A Solution to All Your Telecom Challenges
Making Aliyah is challenging on its own, without worrying about whether you can work or communicate with your loved ones back home hassle-free. Fortunately, every challenge you face has a reasonably simple solution or a nifty workaround.
Can’t understand the customer support representatives? Find a company geared toward Anglos.
Don’t know what the website says? Paste the text into a handy app, and you’ll get your answer.
Can’t afford to make international calls? Use a few tricks to avoid incurring high charges and choose the right communication tool.
As you might’ve noticed, Telecom TCS offers solutions for most of these problems.
English-speaking customer support representatives? Check!
English-language website? Check!
Unlimited international calls? Check!
No hidden fees or charges? Check!
A reliable and secure connection? Check!
All that’s left is to contact TCS Telecom and choose the most suitable bundle for your needs. And don’t just limit yourself to the internet. TCS Telecom can be your one-stop shop for all telecom needs.