Palestinians get 3G internet after decade-long row

January 23, 2018
A file picture shows a young Palestinian woman using a mobile phone in the West Bank city of Ramallah on November 5, 2014

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank began receiving 3G mobile telecommunications services on Tuesday, after years of wrangling with the Israeli authorities.

The Jawwal and Wataniya firms began offering the service to their customers Tuesday morning, with Palestinians seeing the option appear on their phones for the first time.

Israel had previously blocked Palestinian mobile companies' access to the necessary frequencies.

Third generation services were originally launched in the early 2000s, and much of the world already has 4G technology, while 5G is expected in the next year.

Ammar Aker, chief executive of the Paltel communications company which owns Jawwal, told AFP it had been a decade of work to get Israel to agree to 3G.

"We launched 3G technically and commercially about midnight on Monday. This is a strategic step we have been waiting for for more than 10 years. We hope it has a positive affect on the national communications (infrastructure) and economy."

The launch coincided with a one-day strike across the West Bank in protest at the visit of US Vice President Mike Pence to Jerusalem and the US administration's recognition of the disputed city as the capital of Israel.

The Palestinians see at least the eastern part of the city as the capital of their future state and boycotted Pence's visit.

A Wataniya spokesman, Shadi al-Qawasmi, said stores were closed because of the strike but that 3G services were still offered on mobile devices.

The will be available only in the West Bank for now and not in the Gaza Strip, blockaded by Israel for more than a decade.

The companies say they need Israeli permits to bring in equipment necessary. Egypt has also kept its border with Gaza largely closed in recent years.

Explore further: Israel grants Palestinian mobile carriers 3G frequency

Related Stories

After years of delays, Palestinians get high-speed mobile

November 23, 2015

Political science lecturer Amjad Abu el-Ez lived in London and Dubai for 17 years before returning home in 2014 to teach in the northern West Bank city of Nablus. He was stunned to learn he could barely check his email on ...

'Hackers take down' Palestinian servers

November 1, 2011

Hackers from around the world have attacked Palestinian servers, cutting Internet service across the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinian communications minister said on Tuesday.

3G void limits West Bank's smartphone revolution

July 24, 2013

Like many young Palestinians, Amir was excited to get his first smartphone, despite the heavy price tag. But he did not keep it long after realising the lack of 3G network meant its applications were largely unusable.

Recommended for you

In colliding galaxies, a pipsqueak shines bright

February 20, 2019

In the nearby Whirlpool galaxy and its companion galaxy, M51b, two supermassive black holes heat up and devour surrounding material. These two monsters should be the most luminous X-ray sources in sight, but a new study using ...

When does one of the central ideas in economics work?

February 20, 2019

The concept of equilibrium is one of the most central ideas in economics. It is one of the core assumptions in the vast majority of economic models, including models used by policymakers on issues ranging from monetary policy ...

Research reveals why the zebra got its stripes

February 20, 2019

Why do zebras have stripes? A study published in PLOS ONE today takes us another step closer to answering this puzzling question and to understanding how stripes actually work.

Correlated nucleons may solve 35-year-old mystery

February 20, 2019

A careful re-analysis of data taken at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has revealed a possible link between correlated protons and neutrons in the nucleus and a 35-year-old mystery. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.