Rants and Raves for TechnoGeeks

Asterisk’s New Friend in Israel – Cellcom


Since early 2006, an ever increasing competition between the local PTT carriers in Israel, had introduced an unlikely friend to the Asterisk community in Israel. While Cellcom, one of Israel’s largest cellular carriers, isn’t closely associated with the PSTN market – it’s entrance to the local PTT market, especially into the E1 PRI market, had introduced the most unlikely friend to Asterisk.

Cellcom’s highly aggressive marketing techniques, rapid deployment of skillful sales agents and a highly motivating sales campaign – had yielded a migration of many customers from the local PTT carrier (Bezeq) utilizing Analog lines with traditional PBX systems, to low cost, PRI circuits provided by Cellcom, with low cost Asterisk based IP PBX systems.

Now, coming 2009, Cellcom had sprung up a new marketing campaign for their new service line: all-in-one Internet access and telephony service for your home. The service is rendered via the utilization of an OPTION GlobeSurfer II devices, allowing you to connect your home wireless network and an analog phone directly to the device.

OPTION GlobeSurfer II
OPTION GlobeSurfer II

So, why is Cellcom becoming a better Asterisk friend? very simple, the usage of the GlobeSurfer II device, in an SMB environment is the ideal companion for a small time Asterisk installation – in the office. Each GlobeSurfer devices allow us up to 2.4Mbps of downlink Internet with 384kbps of uplink – and a dedicated phone line. All of this, for a low cost of 29$ per month (give or take a few dollars). By all standards, that price is lower than any of the high-power uplink Broadband connections in Israel – thus, this is an ideal choice for a small office. Now, all that we need to facilitate an office of 4-6 people, is to have two of these units, get a router that can support multiple (2 or 3) Internet uplinks – walla – we have the perfect office communications suite. Another added value is that our office is now truely mobile – we want to move offices, no problem, takes 10 minutes to move the offices and start working again. Now, the only thing that’s missing from the mix is the availability of static IP addresses on the link, and you’ve got a serious potential looking at the new PTT killer in Israel – Wireless Internet and telephony to go – at a price you can afford.

Other questions that remain are:

  1. Will Cellcom allow for a single mobile number/landline number to be associated with multiple SIM card gateways such as this, allowing for office redundancy and maybe in the future true IVR capabilities?
  2. Will Cellcom allow its customers to aggregate more bandwidth in the future, allowing for true VoIP services to operate using these units?
  3. While the units are fully capable of rendering up to 7.2Mbps downlink and 2.4 Mbps uplink, Cellcom is limiting these to 2.8 Mbps downlink and 384kbps uplink – will they increase that in the near future?

All things considered, I believe that this unit will make Cellcom into a new contender in the market, allowing for new residential services and competition to exist – in other words, the heat in the Israeli residential and SMB market in on – let’s get cooking.