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Understanding the Communications Industry in Israel

Immigrating to a new country can be both an exciting and terrifying experience. Especially when making Aliyah, there is so much to look forward to. Understandably, getting set up with various amenities and services like internet for your home can get confusing.

Usually you’d turn to information provided online to get a better understanding of how things work. But, despite the continual increase in Aliyah, information in English is still very scarce. Even though, NPOs like Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN) can provide assistance in English to Olim from North America, some information online is outdated.      

Here at TCS, we will try to provide a more holistic understanding of the telecommunications industry in Israel. When you’re ready to get yourself started and connect to phone and internet services, our American style sales and customer support is here to help you.

In the meantime, it is still very important you understand what to expect from telecommunication companies in Israel and what to look out for.

Mobile Companies in Israel

As per 2019, there are 6 major cellular networks in Israel: Pelephone, Cellcom, Partner, HOT Mobile, Golan Telecom, and we4g. Of course, there are also other smaller mobile companies. But these 6 are the ones you’d want to know about.

In recent years, companies that work as mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), entered the telecommunication industry, which resulted in an increase of price competitiveness. Namely: Rami Levy Communications, Home Cellular, YouPhone, Select Communications, and 019 Mobile.

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Wired/ Landline Companies in Israel

In Israel, there are about seven phone companies that operate for domestic landline calls: Bezeq, HOT, 012 Smile, NetVision, Cellcom, Partner, and Xfone. Bezeq is the oldest company.

For international calling: Bezeq International, 012 Smile, NetVision, 017 Hot Lead, Xfone, Hello 015. Each company has a different area. Careful not to get them mixed so you won’t pay extra for your international call.

Now that we introduced some of the big names in the Mobile market, here are some challenges you’re likely to deal followed by some tips how to deal with them.

Below is some practical information about what to expect from an Israeli telecommunications company.

General Info About Cellphone Services

  • Most services in Israel would expect you to have your Teudat Zehut and bank details on you as you sign up.
  • Keep in mind, when you choose a cellphone provider, you’ll be required to pay a one-time payment for the SIM card. The price range will be anywhere between 20-50 NIS. Keep in mind, if you decide to port your number to a different company for whatever reason, you’ll have to repurchase a new SIM card each time.
  • Generally speaking, when you sign up to a cellphone company, the contract you cannot be more than 18 months by law and the rates won’t change for the period of 18 months by law. But make sure this is the case before you sign up.
  • If you’d like to purchase a cellphone in full, double check with the provider that it is possible. Some companies only allow to make this purchase in CC payment, i.e Tashlumim.
  • Incoming calls are free of charge. You pay only for outgoing calls.
  • There are two main payment options. You can use an Israeli credit card or sign up for direct debit. Some companies would prefer direct debit. If this is the case, you’ll probably pay a one-time sign-up fee. But if you are an Oleh Chadash (i.e. New Immigrant), you might get some benefits in regards to this kind of fees with your bank. Worth finding out.
  • If you’re still using your foreign credit card, make sure your provider accepts this method of payment.
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General Info About Landlines and Internet

Landlines

  • Most companies charge a one-time installation fee in addition to the monthly payment.
  • Installation should be done within 2-3 days.
  • When you schedule a technician to install your internet framework, keep in mind you’ll probably have to designate a day for them to show up. The phone company will give you a 9-hour window to wait for the technician.
  • When you call a cellphone from your landline, you’ll have to pay a higher rate per minute. Prices vary from company to company.

Tashtit and Sapak

  • In Israel, to set up your internet at home, you need two types of providers: Sapak (ISP/provider) and Tashtit (infrastructure). Getting your home connected to internet mean you’ll have to set up services with two separate companies.
  • Some ISPs can also arrange the Tashtit for you — sometimes at a slightly lower price.

TCS is one of the companies that provides a full internet setup without you having to divide your attention between collaborating services.

  • Bezeq should not be confused with Bezeq International. The former is the tashtit and the latter is an ISP (Internet Service Provider).
  • Prices of internet services are NEGOTIABLE. Bargaining is expected, so don’t hesitate.
  • When the term of your service commitment is up, call your internet provider and ask for an additional special price period. Otherwise, you will pay a fixed rate which is above your current rate.
  • You have the option to have a “kosher” internet service. Several ISPs offer a filtered internet connection for a certain premium that limits your internet access to unwanted sites.

Canceling Service

  • When you cancel a service, your provider will work real hard to keep you by offering you a more attractive deal. If this is the case, don’t assume it’s the best deal.
  • Usually the routers must be returned to one of the company’s locations. Make sure you find out where it is and get some kind of written documentation for incase.
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What to Expect from the Israeli Customer Service?

Language Barriers

Despite the fact that 80% of Israelis speak English, individuals who work in customer service may have difficulties communicating sufficiently to your needs. Many of customer supports are either still learning to become proficient in English, or they themselves are Israeli immigrants or from other minority groups. So it might take you a few tries till you catch someone who can speak a decent amount of English to suffice your needs.

Customer Service Can Be Better

Israel is definitely an exciting place to be. But, it still has some way to go in regards to phone customer service. First, until you reach a live person, you’ll still have to go through a few minutes of automated menu system. But when you finally reach live support, you might want to prepare yourself for less than optimal service. As immigrants, however, it’s important to understand that the mentality in Israel is rougher than you’re used to. So sometimes this mentality might be mistaken as rudeness. But overall, with some patience, you’ll get what you need. To expedite your customer service experience in Hebrew, it would be a good idea to have a Hebrew speaking friend to help you with the process.

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Try TCS Telecom

TCS is a phone and internet company that help Anglo-Israeli residents get phone and internet services. The TCS team is just like you, as most of the TCS team come from English speaking communities. It is an easy solution for olim, expats, and temporary Israeli residents.

What will you get from TCS?

  • American style customer service in English
  • Short wait for a live customer service rep.
  • TCS provides you with ISP and infrastructure so you won’t have to divide your attention between different companies.
  • The billing system is all in English. You won’t have to feel like you’re in the dark when it comes to charges.
  • Premium mobile plans
  • Long distance landline plans
  • Discounted bundles
  • Roaming solutions
  • USA numbers in Israel
  • All in one place and one invoice

As a new Israeli immigrant, you’ll have to deal with bureaucracies in Hebrew anyways. With TCS you’ll get at least one amenity in English. It just makes things easier for you. TCS is here to seamlessly accommodate your communications needs as you fulfill your dream living in Israel.

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