Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Corp. (BEZQ) declined the most in a week as its mobile phone unit struggled to identify the cause of an interruption to voice and messaging service yesterday.
Shares in Tel Aviv slipped as much as 2.4 percent and closed 1.4 percent lower to 4.26 shekels as Pelephone, Israel’s third-largest provider by the number of subscribers, said service had been restored after a disruption last night left customers without those services for about four hours. The TA-25 index gained for a third day, adding less than 0.1 percent.
Bezeq, Cellcom Israel Ltd. (CEL:US) and Partner Communication Co. (PTNR) have been the worst performing shares on the benchmark index in the past 12 months as competition has intensified, causing the mobile-phone operators to cut costs and counter lower-priced offerings from new entrants like Golan Telecom Ltd. and Hot Telecommunication System Ltd.
“Pelephone will manage to end this episode without significant damage,” Ori Licht, head of research at I.B.I- Israel Brokerage & Investments in Tel Aviv, said today in an e- mailed note. “The malfunction happened after working hours in which network traffic is relatively low.”
Pelephone’s Chief Executive Officer Gil Sharon told a press conference at the company’s headquarters in Givatayim, Israel today that technicians had isolated the area of the disruption but have not yet determined the cause of the malfunction. He ruled out ‘with high probability’’ that the company had been the subject of a cyber attack.
The incident also affected wireless services provided by Hot Telecommunication System Ltd. and Rami Levi Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd. (RMLI) who use the carrier’s network, Bezeq said today.
Bezeq has fired employees in cost-cutting measures, Calcalist reported in December. Partner is cutting jobs and seeking to enter other segments to boost revenue, Chief Executive Officer Haim Romano said Aug. 14. Cellcom said also in August that efficiency measures had led to savings of 300 million shekels ($81 million) that year.
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