Israel’s top operator Cellcom said it is in “advanced stages of negotiations” of a network sharing and hosting agreement with Marathon 018 Xfone and another group of investors interested in the purchase of Golan Telecom.
It is working on a deal through which it will get around ILS200 million ($53 million) to ILS250 million for 10 years, totalling ILS2.2 billion over the agreement term.
This will resolve “past national roaming payment differences with Golan,” it said in a statement.
The news comes a week after Cellcom said it would allow smaller rival Golan to hold talks with third parties over a possible sale, following the failure of their planned merger, adding that it too was conducting negotiations with those third parties.
It was suggested Golan is looking to secure a deal before it is due to pay ILS600 million to Cellcom as part of a national roaming deal which expires in November.
Cellcom wanted to acquire Golan last year for ILS1.17 billion but regulators opposed the move, arguing it was contrary to efforts to introduce more competition to the market.
This was followed by Golan working on a deal with Hot, a cable TV provider and the country’s number four mobile operator, which Cellcom said was a breach of its agreement with Golan. Cellcom threatened legal action as well as demanding compensation.
Now it appears the matter is close to being settled, although the agreements are subject to the completion of negotiations to the satisfaction of Cellcom, the approval of its board, the purchase of Golan by one of the two parties, as well as regulatory approvals.