Ministry Promises Proper Cellular Service in Yehudah and Shomron by 2019

YERUSHALAYIM -
Memorial photos and books for Gilad Sha’ar and Naftali Frenkel, Hy”d, at the Or Hachaim Yeshivah in Gush Etzion, in 2014. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

The problem of a lack of cellular coverage in Yehudah and Shomron will soon be resolved, a report in Yisrael Hayom said Sunday. At a meeting between Communications Minister Ayoub Kara and MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home), chairperson of the Knesset Subcommittee on Civil and Security Issues in Yehudah and Shomron, it was decided that installation of a network of cellular antennas in the region will be completed by next year. Two new Communications Ministry positions will be created to administer the cellular network in Yehudah and Shomron.

In addition, PHI, the company that won an IDF tender to provide robust and reliable cellular service for the IDF throughout Yehudah and Shomron, will apply their technology to the civilian cellular network, the newspaper reported. A total of 65 cellular stations will be set up in the region, providing full cellular coverage for all areas of Yehudah and Shomron. The antennas and stations will be available to all the Israeli cellphone service firms.

Yogev said that “after five years of pressure, we have succeeded in finding a solution to the cellular coverage problems faced both by the military and civilian population in Yehudah and Shomron. The problems are being solved by a joint effort between ministries, the Knesset and the IDF.”

The poor cellphone service in Yehudah and Shomron has long been a complaint of residents, and took on a tragic aspect in 2014; with better service, authorities could have perhaps more easily traced the whereabouts of Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach, who were kidnapped by Hamas in June 2014 and eventually murdered, Hy”d. The incident led directly to Operation Protective Edge. After the war, numerous government panels recommended that the cellular infrastructure in Yehudah and Shomron be upgraded immediately, to enable drivers or hikers to immediately report problems, security or otherwise. There are many black spots in the region where cell service is unavailable, and the objective of the plan was to significantly increase the service infrastructure to enable anyone anywhere to communicate.