Back in the old days, Israel had only one land-line phone company – Bezeq. Not so long ago, in the 80’s, if you ordered a new line from Bezeq, you had to wait for months. My grandmother actually had to share her phone line with her neighbour up until the late 80’s.
Thankfully, that’s not the situation today – but the competition is not a whole lot better – there are now merely 2 landline phone companies – Bezeq, and Hot (which is also a cable tv company). Along the two “true” landline offerings, there are several internet-based phone companies, with phone lines that simply “ride” your internet connection, at cheaper prices. Much like Skype, but connected to your “regular” phone number and device.
The true competition today lies with the cellular phone companies – a lot of people don’t even bother getting a landline today. Please remember that unlike the situation in the UK, for example, you DON’T have to get a phone line in order to get online – you can get an internet-only account both from Bezeq and Hot (though their sales persons will try to convince you otherwise!).
If you still feel the need for a regular landline, these are your options:
- Bezeq’s Website (in Hebrew)
- Bezeq’s Sales Number: 1-800-800-199
- Bezeq’s Customer Service Number: 199
Usually the most expensive choice for a landline – but probably the most stable as well. You can either get a “bank” of monthly minutes, or just a line without pre-purchased minutes, in which case you’ll still pay a monthly fee for the mere existence of the line.
– 100 Minutes would cost you 39.90 Shekels a month. (18 agorot per minute above that)
– 300 Minutes – 49.90 a month. (18 agorot per minute above that)
– 600 Minutes – 64.90 a month. (18 agorot per minute above that)
For a line WITHOUT pre-purchased minutes, you will have to pay 49.90 shekels a month, and pay 10 agorot per minute.
You can also get a “Kav Kal” (a ‘light’ line), for 25.30 shekels a month, and 25.32 agorot per minute.
So if you want a landline from Bezeq, in most cases it would be wise to choose a minutes bank. If you also use them as your internet provider – you can usually get a cheaper combined price.
- Important Tip: When ordering a new landline, you also have to pay setup fees. The official price is 179.36 shekels, but if you haggle, you can definitely lower that amount, or even cancel it completely.
- Hot’s website (Partial English version)
- Hot’s Customer Service: 1-801-700-700
Hot is first and foremost a cable company, and as such offers cable TV, internet service – and a landline phone. Their cheapest plans are those that combine several of these services together, and the cheapest one is the Triple Pack, in which you get TV, internet and a phone line.
But you can also get JUST a phone line from them, if you want. Keep in mind though, their customer service is INFAMOUS, and lots of people steer clear of them for that reason alone.
For a phone line with HOT, you have to a buy a minutes bank, and you have 2 options:
– 300 minutes for 57 shekels per month. (32.27 agorot per minute above that)
– 500 minutes for 81 shekels per month. (32.27 agorot per minute above that)
- Important Tip: Like Bezeq, Hot also charges first-time setup fees. The official price is 239 shekels. With some haggling, you can lower (or even cancel) this price, especially if you’re getting more services from them.
3. Internet-based Telephony
If you want a cheaper landline, you can get lines that “ride” your internet connection. I’m not sure what the benefit is over using something like Skype Out (though it might be cheaper), but at least you get an easy to use line, connected to your regular phone handset. You still need, of course, to pay for your regular internet connection – preferably a high speed one.
These lines are not as clear and stable as the Bezeq and Hot ones, and you will often hear some hissing and noises. Plus, when your internet’s out, your phone’s out too – so, for example, you won’t have a line during a power blackout.
The three companies that currently offer internet-based landlines are:
– Bezeq International: An internet service provider wholly owned by Bezeq, they offer a basic line for 9.90 shekels a month, and then 8 agorot per minute when calling landlines, and 15 agorot per minute when calling cellular lines. You can also buy a monthly bank of minutes – 500 minutes for 29.90, and 1,000 minutes for 35.90. Setup fees are 49.90 shekels, but these can usually be waived after some haggling.
– 012 Smile: The basic monthly plan costs nothing, in theory – but since you have to get their special telephony “box”, which costs 10 shekels per month (for 36 months) – that’s the actual basic monthly price. Above that – 20.17 agorot per minute. You can also get an Unlimited plan, for 49.90 shekels per month.
– Netvision (013): A bank of 400 minutes costs 49.90 per month (and 14.8 agorot above that). 700 minutes – 54.90 per month. 1,000 minutes – 59.90 per month. Unlimited – 64.90 per month. The one-time setup fee is 99 shekels, but with some haggling you can probably waive it (or at least lower it).
- Important Tip: These three companies are also internet service providers. If you also buy your internet access from them, you’ll usually be able to get better phone offers, price-wise.