Connecting to the internet and using phones in Israel

Phones and internet in Israel
Updated 2023-10-23 09:16

In Israel, mobile phones have almost completely taken over from landline telephones, which are hardly used anymore. Only service companies and government agencies still use landline phones. For a while, there were only three phone service providers in the country: Cellcom, Orange, and Pelephone. However, their number has significantly grown since 2012, when Golan Telecom and Hot Mobile joined the market alongside the three major players.

Indeed, the current telecommunication market includes additional players such as 012 Mobile, 019 Mobile, and Rami Levy. These companies provide plans catering to specific individual requirements, offering limited and unlimited options, with or without international calling features. The entry of these new providers into the market has led to decreased subscription prices, ultimately benefiting consumers.

Israelis have a strong and deep connection with their phones, with the country boasting a staggering 1.3 phones per person. Yet, most communication happens through free messaging applications, especially WhatsApp.

The average monthly cost of mobile telephony per inhabitant in 2021 was 7.30 euros, compared with 19.30 euros in France at the same time. As for 4G, in the same year, it covered 97% of the country.

Access to a telephone network in Israel

Getting access to mobile telephony is easy. If you're using it occasionally, like during a tourist trip, the recommended option is to purchase a prepaid SIM card. You can find these at various kiosks, grocery stores, and, of course, phone stores as well. Additionally, you can opt for time-limited plans for making local or international calls at more affordable rates.

You should purchase a package deal if your plan involves an extended stay or even moving to the country. These packages come without any long-term commitments, allowing you to switch providers whenever possible. However, the expense of the phone itself falls entirely on you. You can pick up your contract and complete all the required procedures online or at physical phone stores.

The procedure is quite straightforward. You must furnish your bank or credit card information and identification number. To start, it's a wise step to explore the different contract options at a phone store, where you'll likely encounter English-speaking staff if you're not already fluent in Hebrew. If you'd instead go through the process online, most prominent retail websites offer an English version. In areas with a significant French-speaking population, like Netanya, Ashdod, or Ashkelon, you might even come across employees who speak French, catering to those who are not proficient in either English or Hebrew.

Internet in Israel

Speaking of the Internet, the country's coverage is equally remarkable. As of 2021, around 90% of Israeli households were connected to the Internet. Nevertheless, only about 28% of them had a broadband connection. While there's ongoing fiber optics installation, the progress is happening relatively slowly.

How do I access the Internet in Israel?

Before securing an Internet connection, it's essential to confirm with your selected Internet Service Provider (ISP) whether connecting from your residence is feasible. If there's been a previous connection at your location, the process should proceed fairly smoothly. You'll receive a prompt appointment, and a technician will come to your home to set up the necessary equipment. In cases where there hasn't been prior Internet coverage, the installation might take a bit longer, but it will eventually be arranged.

Israel boasts a variety of ISPs. The longstanding players, Bezeq, which has its roots in the national telephone company, and Hot, are now joined in the market by competitors like Cellcom, 019, Partner, and Internet Rimon, among others. Each company provides various subscription options based on preferred speeds and additional features like television and phone services. Comparative analyses between Hot, the larger one, and Bezeq indicate that Hot tends to be more budget-friendly than Bezeq. However, note that Hot's technical support and customer service might be less efficient.

Given the number of providers and the variety of ever-changing offers, it's best to find out more when the time comes.

Whether exploring the city or the countryside, staying connected to the Internet is a breeze. You'll find no shortage of places providing free Internet access, including cafes, restaurants, and hotel lobbies. Even buses come equipped with WiFi hotspots. Moreover, public transportation in Israel, particularly buses and trains, are outfitted with USB charging ports for your phones or laptops.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.