JERUSALEM, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Cellcom, Israel’s largest mobile phone network operator, said on Tuesday it has submitted a request to a Tel Aviv court for the liquidation of Golan Telecom, alleging that the upstart rival owes Cellcom 600 million shekels ($156 million) for using its network.
Cellcom said it had filed a request with the court to appoint an interim liquidator to Golan, which was launched in 2012 when the government issued new licences to boost competition in a sector that had been dominated until then by three players.
A spokesman for Golan, owned by French businessmen Michael Golan and Xavier Niel, the majority owner of French telecoms group Iliad, declined to comment.
Offering rock-bottom prices that Cellcom and other competitors have struggled to meet, Golan has taken about 10 percent of Israel’s mobile market.
Cellcom tried to buy Golan for about $300 million last year but Israel’s regulators opposed the purchase, arguing such a deal ran contrary to its efforts to introduce more competition to the market by having more networks.
Cellcom said it could not anticipate what the court would decide or what impact the action would have on its ability to collect the money it says it is owed by Golan or to generate future revenues from its rival’s use of its network. ($1 = 3.8358 shekels) (Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Greg Mahlich)