Palestinians get 3G Internet after decade-long row

Palestinian men look at mobile phones displayed under the logo of the Al-Wataniya Palestine phone company at a shop in the West Bank city of Jenin. (AFP)
Updated 24 January 2018
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Palestinians get 3G Internet after decade-long row

RAMALLAH: 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 service 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.


German firms end Iran projects amid new US sanctions

Updated 16 August 2018
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German firms end Iran projects amid new US sanctions

  • New US sanctions against Iran took effect last week and several European companies have suspended plans to invest in Iran in light of the US sanctions

BERLIN: German rail operator Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Telekom are ending projects in Iran after Washington imposed new sanctions against Tehran and said firms doing business with Iran would be barred from doing business with the United States.
New US sanctions against Iran took effect last week and several European companies have suspended plans to invest in Iran in light of the US sanctions, including oil major Total as well as carmakers PSA, Renault and Daimler.
State-owned Deutsche Bahn is involved in two projects in Iran via its subsidiary DB Engineering&Consulting, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.
“Both projects will be ended in August and September 2018 respectively,” she said. “Due to the altered banking practice we have sought to bring the contract to an amicable and timely conclusion.”
Deutsche Bahn signed a memorandum of understanding with the Iranian rail operator Bonyad Eastern Railways (BonRail) in May 2017 for the first project, which aimed to identify and address potential in rolling stock and organization, she said.
The second project, which started around 1-1/2 years ago, was a consulting contract for Iranian state railway RAI that included restructuring the company, the spokeswoman added.
Separately, Detecon, a subsidiary of T-Systems — Deutsche Telekom’s IT services arm — has terminated its business in Iran, a spokesman said. Detecon offers consulting services to companies in the telecommunications industry.
“Until the decision to stop operations was made, sales in Iran in 2018 amounted to around €300,000,” he said.
“Given the sensitivity in relations with Iran worldwide, Detecon ended its business in Iran with immediate effect in mid-May 2018.”
The ending of Telekom’s involvement in Iran followed soon after the announcement that its US unit, T-Mobile, would buy Sprint Corp. in a $26 billion deal that remains subject to the approval of US regulators.