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Cellcom, Partner Tumble on Bets Price War Will Hurt Revenues

Cellcom Israel Ltd. and Partner Communications Co., the country’s largest and second-largest mobile-phone providers, and Hot Telecommunication System Ltd. tumbled in Tel Aviv on bets price cuts will hurt revenues.

Cellcom slumped 5.2 percent to 25.5 shekels, the lowest since 2007, when the shares were listed in Israel, at the close in Tel Aviv. Partner slid 5.8 percent to 15.95 shekels, the lowest close since March 2003. Hot, a new provider, dropped 7.3 percent, the most since May 16, to 31.43 shekels.

Partner last week said it plans to set up a new low-cost wireless brand called Mobile 012. Competition has intensified after the government forced providers to cut fees and encouraged new players to enter the market.

“This could lead to an additional drop in average revenue per user (ARPU) of all the companies and may hurt revenues,” said Rami Rosen, head of research at Harel Finance Trade Securities Ltd. in Ramat Gan, Israel.

Hot and Golan Telecom Ltd. said in May they’d start offering unlimited mobile-phone services, competing with packages of Cellcom, Partner and Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Corp., which have been the worst-performing shares on the TA-25 benchmark this year. Cellcom has plunged 60 percent and Partner 53 percent in the period. The benchmark TA-25 as dropped 0.5 percent this year.

Bezeq, which provides wireless services through a unit, lost 3.8 percent to 4.08 shekels, the lowest since 1998.

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