Save Money on your Tel and Internet

After spending close to 2 days investigating the latest plans and pricing on behalf of a family member, I've decided to share what I've learnt with you the consumer.  It has been an exhausting experience, but I learnt quite a bit about the state of the telco's and the ISP's (Internet Service Providers). I hope you find my observations of value.  The telephone and internet market is changing daily so remember that the pricing and plans you will find in this article are good as of the day of me publishing the article.  I will try to update the article on a regular basis if there is interest.  Enjoy.


In Israel there are a number of communications services for which we pay a monthly and per minute fee including:
  1. Phone line (sometimes more than 1)
  2. Internet connection (via Bezeq or Hot)
  3. Cell phone
  4. Long Distance Carrier
  5. Cable (Hot or Yes)
There are a number of players in the market which are vying for your communications dollars.  Due to historic regulations and recent changes to the regulations the various players offer different deals based on their position in the marketplace.  All this makes the process of finding the best deal a very difficult task.  In this article I will try to explain the various options available and their most recent pricing to give you an idea of what you can expect.  If you find something that I've missed please comment and I will add it to my future post.  I will be dealing with cell phones in my next post.


You can view my spreadsheet of plans and pricing from the link to your right.  Good Luck.


Many Changes - So Keep up to date

There are many changes happening in the communications arena, from new players (rami levy, xphone etc.) to phone number portability, to the upcoming changes to legislation to bar contracts.  For this reason it is important to constantly check the state of your deal.  As  a Bezeq representative told me on the phone, it is my responsibility to keep up to date with the latest deals.  


Phone Lines
Let's start with the phone line.  You have two options for a phone line; a regular land line connected to Bezeq/Hot or an Internet phone (available via Smile, Hot, Netvision or Orange) which sits on top of your internet connection


Bezeq Phone Line
The current price, as of writing this blog, for a Bezeq Phone Line is 57.42 per month (including VAT).  On top of this charge you will pay a per minute fee.  Bezeq now bundles their basic phone line with a minutes plan.  For example you can purchase a 600 minute package (to land lines and cell phones) with the basic line fee for 79.90 (per month), 300 minute package for 69.90 shekels and a 200 minute package (to land lines only) for 59.90 shekels.  If you go above the allotted minutes then you will pay 14.7 Agorot per minute. 

Important: Due to upcoming legislation Bezeq and all the internet service providers have dropped all and any time commitment requirements contracts that they had in place until now.  This means that you are free to move from carrier to carrier at the end of each billing cycle without any exit fines.  In addition, you have the right to keep your number as you move from carrier to carrier. 


Internet Phone Line


An Internet Phone Line acts similar to a Bezeq Phone Line.  The difference is that an Internet Phone Line uses an internet connection to send and receive phone calls.  It's more complicated than that, but for our purposes, I will leave it with that.  


In the case of Netvision (internet phone line) you will pay 85 shekels a month for the Bezeq line (internet only adsl line plus internet connection fee) plus 79.90 shekels per month for 1000 minutes of talk time to land lines and cellphones. In total for a 1000 minute package you will pay 164.90 shekels per month. There are cheaper plans with fewer minutes.  The above package contains, voice mail, call forwarding, and 3 way calling included in the price. These features are usually charged extra by Bezeq. 


At Orange you will also pay the 85 shekels a month to Bezeq for the ADSL phone line to your house.  On top of that you will pay 98 shekels a month for 500 minutes of land lines and cell phone minutes(there are other plans available with more or less minutes).  Every minute above the 500 minutes will cost 12 Agorot.  Orange throws in a 2.5 megabyte internet connection with this package.


If you decide to use HOT instead of Bezeq to connect to the Internet you will pay 69 shekels per month as opposed to the 85 shekel fee charged by Bezeq.


Please note:  If you use your phone line for your security system, you should first find out if the internet phone is suitable for you system.  If not, you will find that you will have to use more than one line in your house.


Internet

To understand and to make a fair comparison between the various suppliers and their plans it is important to understand the various elements you will need to purchase to connect to the Internet including:
  1. a phone line or cable connection
  2. a modem/router to connect your house to your ISP
  3. an account and plan with an ISP (Bezeq BenLeumi, Netvision, Orange, Xphone, Triple-C etc.)
Each element has its own fee plans.  Besides the basic phone line fee there is an internet connection fee charged by Bezeq/Hot.  The cost of this connection will depend on the speed at which you wish to connect. A 10 megabyte connection (download speed) a quoted by Bezeq will cost 99.9 shekels per month.  On top of that fee you will need to pay an ISP (internet service provider) fee.  


Netvision (Tel: 1-800-013-013) (which is but one ISP) quoted me 45 shekels per month for their 10 megabyte ISP fee.  For this option you will pay in total 145 shekels per month for a 10 megabyte connection to the internet. Don't forget you will have to add the phone fee from Bezeq of 57.42 shekels per month for a total of 202.42.  


Xphone (018) charges 35 shekels per month for 10 megabytes, which would translate into a total monthly bill of 192.42.


Hot (Tel: *6900) the only cable operator in Israel, offers many packages for phone and internet service.  For example for 94 shekels you will receive an internet connection of 5 megabytes and 300 minutes talk time to cell phones and landlines.




Internet Bundles


Another option is to request a quote for a bundle.  Bezeq cannot offer a bundle as they are not an ISP.  The internet bundles are offered by the various ISP's (Netvision, Bezeq BenLeumi, Kavei Zahav, Orange).  With a bundle the ISP will offer a internet line fee with the ISP fee in one package.  The ISP sells the bundle, but you will still receive a bill from Bezeq for their portion and from the ISP for their option.  The upside is that if you have a problem with your internet connection you have one company to deal with.

Netvision Bundle
  1. For 5 megabytes Internet Connection, 1000 minutes to landlines and cellphones 165 shekels per month via Bezeq and 149 shekels per month via Hot
  2. For 10 megabytes Internet Connection, 1000 minutes to landlines and cellphones 175 shekels via Bezeq and 159 shekels per month via Hot
  1. For 5 Megabytes, 1000 minutes to landlines and cellphones - 227 shekels via Bezeq
  2. For 10 Megabytes, 1000 minutes to landlines and cellphones - 247 shekels via Bezeq

Other Tips
  1. I would suggest that you keep your email address parked at either gmail.com or yahoo.com or live.com.  In this way if you decide to change ISP's you don't have to inform everyone of your new email address.
  2. When speaking with the various companies, let them know that you have been speaking to their competitors and you are requesting their final price or walk away price.
  3. Sometimes the companies will give you a better deal or a time related offer (a discounted month) if you move your business to them from another company
  4. Continue to call the companies every few months to see if the prices have changed.  It is fairly obvious that the service providers are not going to call you to reduce your rates. 
  5. In some cases the service providers will give you a credit retroactively if you decide to continue to stick with them.
  6. Most of the ISP's have websites and most of them do not use them to publish their plans and prices.  Be prepared to call or be called.  If you call be prepared to wait and to have to deal with over-aggressive sales agents.  Don't be pushed around and stand your ground.  If you are not interested say so. If you need time to think, take your time.
  7. Prices will continue to fall.  Features will continue to increase.  Even if you accept a deal that ends up being too pricey, with the new legislation you can move around with very little downsides.
In summary


I hope the information above has been helpful in getting you started.  I have put together a small spreadsheet of some of the options and the prices.  If you would like more info, I would suggest that you contact the companies directly.  I will do my best to update the pricing and plans on a regular basis.  Any comments should be sent to david.wenner@gmail.com .
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