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Prepaid SIM - Israel (and non-prepaid)

Prepaid SIM - Israel (and non-prepaid)

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Old Jul 14, 19, 4:00 pm   -   Wikipost
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Israel has full-service carriers and MVNOs (to the consumer, there is ZERO difference between the 2!)

Full Service
  • Orange (also known as Partner Communications)
  • Cellcom - Promotion: 2 unlimited cellphone, 15 MBs home internet (sapak only), and home phone line with unlimited calling - NIS 199/month for 6 months (after which price increases to NIS 249)
  • Pelephone
  • HOT Mobile* (Note: stores are closed Saturday night, contrary to what's listed on the website). HOT Mobile customers benefit from free internet service ("sapak") through HOTnet (though must still purchase "tashtit."
  • Golan Telecom*

MVNOs*
  • Rami Levi Communications
  • YouPhone (also known as Alon Cellular) - Current promotion: NIS 39/month for first 4 months for unlimited talk/text and unlimited internet (speed throttled after 1GB). After 4 months, price goes up to NIS 79. Add NIS 10 to increase base internet to 3GB
  • Home Cellular
  • 012Smile - Roams off parent company, Orange

*None of these carriers work with BlackBerry. If you have a BlackBerry (including the new Q10 or Z10) and you get a SIM from any of these companies, calls/SMS will work, but no data (internet, BlackBerry data such as BBM, push email,) will work. You will need to be connected to WiFi to connect to internet.

If coming to Israel for just a few days, it's probably not worth going through the hassle of signing up with a carrier, and just renting a SIM through one of the following companies: Talk n Save, Israel Phones, TravelCell, or World SIM Travel.

If you're going to be traveling to Israel frequently, then it becomes worth signing up with a carrier. HOT Mobile offers a plan that has no monthly charge, and costs 13 agurot/minute to call Israeli phone numbers, 13 agurot/domestic SMS, cheap direct dialing rates abroad, (15 agurot/minute to USA,) and 13 agurot/MB internet. The cost of the SIM is a one-time fee of NIS 39. Sign up is possible with a foreign credit card and with a passport number in lieu of an Israeli identity number (Teudat Zehut). (Note that this plan isn't listed on the English site.)

If you plan on being in Israel for a month or two, Golan is another option. They have a special now for new subscribers which is their regular plan, free of charge for the first 2 months. The plan includes unlimited domestic calling and unlimited domestic SMS, unlimited 3G data (speeds throttled after 3GB), and international calling. After 2 months, the cost goes up to NIS 99. Sign-up is possible with a foreign credit card and a passport number.

A unique benefit of Golan is the ability to have a virtual phone number, free of charge.

If you'll be in Israel long-term, both HOT Mobile and Golan offer the same unlimited plans at NIS 99, with specials now, such as NIS 49 or NIS 59 for the first few months.

Note regarding prices: All prices include the 18% VAT (Israeli Value Added Tax, or sales tax in Israel)
Prices are listed in (ILS) shekel (NIS = New Israeli Shekel). 100 agurot equal 1 shekel. Google "convert XXX to ILS" to check current exchange rates between shekel and local currency.

How to dial internationally from Israel?
HOT Mobile - dial 00-country code-local phone number OR dial "+" followed by country code and then local number
Golan Telecom - same as HOT Mobile
Orange - 012-country code (via 012 Smile)
Cellcom - 013-country code (via Netvision)
Pelephone - 014-country code (via Bezeq)
Rami Levi - 015-country code (via 015Hallo)

LTE!
Advanced LTE has made it to Israel, though not every carrier currently has it available.
Orange (Partner Communications) and subsidiary 012Smile offer Advanced LTE. To benefit, you must have a phone that supports either LTE band 3 or band 7.
All other networks in Israel use band 7 only!
They are: Pelephone and Cellcom
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Old Jul 9, 13, 12:16 pm
  #1  
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Prepaid SIM - Israel (and non-prepaid)

Israel has a bunch of both prepaid and non-prepaid options which will be written in the wiki.

Feel free to edit!
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Old Jul 9, 13, 1:38 pm
  #2  
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Thanks been wanting to go with HOT cant take Oranges 1.26 per min.

Do you have any idea where Beitar Sports Association Rd is in Jerusalem? My guess is somewhere near Kanyon Malcha. Talipyot is a hassle finding parking
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Old Jul 9, 13, 1:59 pm
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I've been with HOT now for almost a year and can say that it's been pretty good. Service is roughly on par with Orange as is 3G speed.

No major billing issues, which I can't really say about Orange.

Regarding where that is, the site lists the Malcha Mall, so I presume it's in the mall. If so, you could easily park in the parking garage.

Alternatively, there's a kiosk in the Central Bus Station.
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Old Jul 9, 13, 2:55 pm
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Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post

Regarding where that is, the site lists the Malcha Mall, so I presume it's in the mall. If so, you could easily park in the parking garage.

Alternatively, there's a kiosk in the Central Bus Station.
CBS is a 10 min walk from my Hotel, do you remember where in the CBS its located?

Dont know why they couldnt have said Kanyon Malcha instead of listing a street, got it off their site under Locations. But they didnt mention the CBS
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Old Jul 9, 13, 10:55 pm
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I'm not sure what the designation "full service" is supposed to be. "Full service" is sort of nebulous and really has nothing to do with the sort of service offered as all of the mobile offerings have service and none of the MVNO offerings have any less than the major operators i.e. Orange, Cellcom, Pelephone etc. The MVNO operators in fact use one of the majors' networks.

Also note, that you may have trouble getting "billed" service rather than prepaid if you don't have an Israeli credit file. You may be relegated to only prepaid options.
Also, regarding prepaid if you attempt to refill through a foreign credit card using customer service your card may not be accepted. You can always do prepaid refills (in Israel) by going to a local post office or at least for the major operators Orange, Cellcom and Pelephone I'm not sure if you can do this with the MVNO's.

Last edited by weekilter; Jul 9, 13 at 11:05 pm
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Old Jul 10, 13, 3:25 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by craz View Post
CBS is a 10 min walk from my Hotel, do you remember where in the CBS its located?

Dont know why they couldnt have said Kanyon Malcha instead of listing a street, got it off their site under Locations. But they didnt mention the CBS
Very strange - on the Hebrew site, they first list the mall and then the street name. Also, on the Hebrew site, they mention 4 places under "sale points," the one in Malcha, the one in Talpiot, CBS, and one in Pisgat Ze'ev.

Regardless, if you enter CBS from the main entrance on Yaffo, (by the traffic light), the kiosk is directly in front of you. It's on the 1st floor right by the Bank Hapoalim vestibule.

Originally Posted by weekilter View Post
I'm not sure what the designation "full service" is supposed to be. "Full service" is sort of nebulous and really has nothing to do with the sort of service offered as all of the mobile offerings have service and none of the MVNO offerings have any less than the major operators i.e. Orange, Cellcom, Pelephone etc. The MVNO operators in fact use one of the majors' networks.
Which is why I said there's no service difference.

Also note, that you may have trouble getting "billed" service rather than prepaid if you don't have an Israeli credit file. You may be relegated to only prepaid options.
I know hundreds of people who use a passport number with a foreign credit card and get billed service as opposed to prepaid. All you need to do is sign up, and when they ask for your TZ number, give your passport number instead. For credit card, just give a foreign credit card. I did this with no problems until I became an Israeli citizen, and I still use a foreign credit card.

The only issue with a foreign credit card, (and this has nothing to do with citizenship or not,) is if you're buying a device with multiple payments, where they may take the whole chunk out in one lump sum. But most Israelis don't even buy phones in Israel because of the exorbitant cost - why would a visitor?!

Also, regarding prepaid if you attempt to refill through a foreign credit card using customer service your card may not be accepted. You can always do prepaid refills (in Israel) by going to a local post office or at least for the major operators Orange, Cellcom and Pelephone I'm not sure if you can do this with the MVNO's.
I don't know whether or not the MVNOs have prepaid. I do know that prepaid is really being phased out. However, Orange, Cellcom, and Pelephone do take foreign credit card in their service centers.
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Old Dec 7, 13, 6:50 pm
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Golan special 59 shekel a month for a year until December 31
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Old Dec 8, 13, 3:53 pm
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I referred a friend's daughter to Golan. She is an American spending a year in Israel. She ported her US mobile number to Google Voice, got a virtual number from Golan and mostly keeps her former US mobile number forwarded to it. She still can text her friends, using Google's callback mobile has dirt cheap calling to the US with her US caller-id and effectively has two phones in one.
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Old Dec 9, 13, 7:45 am
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Benefit of Golan over HOT Mobile is the free virtual international number. (You can get up to 2, and so you can have an American number, should you choose.) Benefit of HOT Mobile is better cellular reception and faster 3G.

Both include free, unlimited calling to USA
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Old Dec 9, 13, 10:25 am
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What network does Hot use and is it significantly faster?

Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post
Benefit of Golan over HOT Mobile is the free virtual international number. (You can get up to 2, and so you can have an American number, should you choose.) Benefit of HOT Mobile is better cellular reception and faster 3G.

Both include free, unlimited calling to USA
Hot Mobile 69.90 shekel a month with first month free.

I know Golan lets you purchase a line with USA credit card and USA passport. A few months ago Hot Mobile would not allow it.

Last edited by gfunkdave; Dec 16, 13 at 8:48 pm Reason: merged
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Old Dec 17, 13, 2:21 am
  #11  
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HOT Mobile has its own network coupled with tower-sharing agreements with Pelephone, which has a national footprint.
HOT is very schizophrenic. I opened my line with an American credit card and a passport number, and they gave me ZERO problems. I've added lines, removed, etc. Since then, I have changed my passport number to a TZ number. However, I continue to pay with an American credit card, as I've paid Orange in the past, Golan, and Bezeq. They have no issue with this, but apparently claim it's an issue for others.

Where did you try opening? At a kiosk, service center, internet, or over the phone?
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Old Dec 25, 13, 8:51 am
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I tried opening online.

Golan December special unlimited dropped to 59 shekel a month includes VAT.

Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post
HOT Mobile has its own network coupled with tower-sharing agreements with Pelephone, which has a national footprint.
HOT is very schizophrenic. I opened my line with an American credit card and a passport number, and they gave me ZERO problems. I've added lines, removed, etc. Since then, I have changed my passport number to a TZ number. However, I continue to pay with an American credit card, as I've paid Orange in the past, Golan, and Bezeq. They have no issue with this, but apparently claim it's an issue for others.

Where did you try opening? At a kiosk, service center, internet, or over the phone?
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Old Jan 1, 14, 1:26 am
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The 59/plan is good for 1 year before returning to the standard 99 shek
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Old Jan 1, 14, 1:28 am
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Meanwhile, HOT Mobile has raised their prices to 99.90/month (up 90 agurot) - with first 2 months free
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Old Jan 16, 14, 1:42 am
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Just trying to find something with the most data - could care less about having a number/voice service. Any recommendations for this?
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