Hot Telecommunication System Ltd. (HOT) rose the most in three weeks on speculation Israel’s second-largest fixed-line operator will start offering mobile phone services in the coming weeks.
Shares of Hot, which also provides cable television services, rallied 3.4 percent, the largest advance since April 17, to 39.69 shekels at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv.
Hot acquired MIRS Communications Ltd. last year to compete in the cellular services market. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is encouraging new players in the mobile and fixed-line markets while forcing providers to cut fees. Incumbent cellular companies Cellcom Israel Ltd. (CEL), Partner Communications Co. (PTNR) and Pelephone Communications Ltd., a unit of Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Corp. (BEZQ), have lowered prices and subsidized handsets to compete with Hot and other wireless providers.
“We are getting close to the moment when Hot Mobile will start,” Tsahi Avraham, an analyst at Clal Finance Brokerage Ltd. “MIRS has a market share of around four percent. Hot’s challenge will be to get market share without subsidizing every new subscriber.”
Motti Scherf, a spokesman for Hot and MIRS, declined to give a date for the start of the services.
Cellcom, Partner and Bezeq control about 95 percent of the telecommunications market, according to data from the Ministry of Communications. Cellcom shares rose 1.2 percent, while Partner advanced 1.5 percent today. Bezeq dropped 1.8 percent.
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