Good Cellphone Info from an Oleh

You basically have 3 choices when it comes to cell phone providers here
(listed alphabetically):
Cellcom -
Orange -
Pelephone -
There's a 4th company - Mirs ( but they're not very popular
with private consumers....used more by businesses....similar to what Nextel
was in the U.S. before it merged with sprint (with the "walkie talkie"

Cellcom & Orange work with GSM technology - meaning they use SIM cards in
their phones (like Cingular & T-Mobile in the US) while Pelephone uses CDMA
(like Verizon in the US).

As far as coverage - I think all 3 have descent coverage throughout the
country (if anyone knows otherwise, please correct me). If you're looking
for coverage in a specific location, I would ask people that live/work in
that area if they have a preference.

As far as calling plans - for the most part, all 3 companies offer similar
plans - you'll need to speak to a rep to figure out what's best for you and
your family. If you are religious, look into a shabbat plan. If you don't
care about SMS, ask about a kosher phone/plan which will reduce your cost.
Keep in mind - normally, plans here are for 3 years.

Bringing unlocked phones from abroad -
My personal opinion - Look into it if you'll sign up with Orange/Cellcom but
don't bother if you go with Pelephone. The only requirements (for
Orange/Cellcom) is that the phone supports their frequencies. All quad-band
phones qualify. With tri-band phones you'll need to look at their specs.
If I remember correct, for Cellcom you'll need a phone that supports GSM1800
and for Orange a phone that works on GSM 900/1800.

*NOTE* - an unlocked phone from abroad is ok at first but unless you can get
hebrew support on it, I wouldn't use it for too long - unless you don't care
for SMS messages. I say this because a lot of businesses here offer to send
you alerts/reminders/confirmations + you can get useful info -like bus
schedule/route- all via SMS...and yes, usually in Hebrew. When you first
get here, this might not be relevant but as you, presumably, get more
comfortable with the language I believe most will find it to be useful.
(again, just my opinion)

June 2008


  1. My family arrived here three weeks ago with Nefesh.....
    we started scoping out the cell phone plans...
    I found a really nice guy at Cellcom (surprizing - because
    most people I know have Orange and I thought we'd do that too)
    He offered us an "Olim" plan. You should ask for it specifically.
    It's 9.9 NIS per month, minutes are 0.42NIS by the second and
    for 10 NIS per month, you get 300 minutes from each phone
    to any other family member. A family must be on the same bill.

    Good Luck,

    September 2008

  2. For those coming from the US for an extended stay, any opinions on which US cell phone carrier to switch to (since we have time before coming) and which are the best types of phones, to be able to use in Israel for lowest cost with purchase of extra SIM card ?


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