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Partner, Cellcom Gain as Competition Seen Stable: Tel Aviv Mover

Partner Communications Co. and Cellcom Israel Ltd., the country’s two largest mobile phone providers, advanced on bets competition in the cellular market is stabilizing.

Shares of Partner, Israel’s second-largest mobile phone provider, increased 3.5 percent, the most since Dec. 19, to 22.89 shekels, at the close in Tel Aviv. The Rosh Ha’Ayin, Israel-based company was the biggest gainer in percentage terms on the benchmark TA-25 Index, which added 0.2 percent. Cellcom, the second-biggest mover on the index, rose 2.9 percent to 30.52 shekels, while Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Corp., which provides wireless services via its Pelephone Communications Ltd. unit, advanced 1.2 percent.

The wireless industry was 95 percent controlled by Cellcom, Partner and Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Corp. before the government opened the sector to competition, according to data from the Ministry of Communication. The shares of the incumbents have been among the worst performers on the TA-25 in the past 12 months as new operators including Hot Telecommunication System Ltd. and Golan Telecom Ltd. entered the market.

Shares of Scailex Corp. surged 14 percent. The company holds a 15.7 percent stake in Partner, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The feeling in the sector is that competition is calming down and that the new providers are becoming a bit less aggressive,” Sabina Podval, analyst at Leader & Co., said today by phone. “The latest Golan offering is based on a fixed monthly tariff of 99 shekels and not the previous 49 shekels.”

Golan Telecom was advertising an unlimited monthly voice, messaging and data package at 99 shekels on its website today.

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