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The company was founded by Michael Golan (b. Michaël Boukobza, Paris, France, 1978), a businessman who immigrated to Israel from France in 2007, and his partners, including Xavier Niel – with whom Golan previously developed several telecom ventures as an executive of the Iliad group in France, using a business model emphasizing low-cost fixed monthly pricing rather than metered usage.
Golan Telecom is the fifth operator to enter the mobile communications market in the country, after Pelephone, Cellcom, Partner Communications (Orange) and Mirs (HOT Mobile), and is the first brand new company to do so in Israel since 1999. The company received the prefix 058 and on 14 May 2012 began offering no-contract packages of calls (including free long-distance calling to certain international destinations), text messages and unlimited Internet surfing for NIS 99 a month and a low-cost metered package starting at NIS 9.90 a month which includes 100 minutes, unlimited text messages, and 100 MB of data.
The company signed a nationwide roaming agreement with Cellcom in order to supplement its coverage in Israel while it expands its own network.
At the beginning of July 2012 Golan announced 80,000 users in two months, equaling 10,000 new customers per week.
On 4 December 2013 Golan Telecom claimed 380,000 subscribers, a 134,000 increase from the start of the year. On 30 June 2014 this number grew to 500,000 subscribers, and on 1 December 2014 it was 600,000 subscribers.
Golan Telecom built its business around the somewhat blunt and unusual slogan, "Enough of being a sucker," which is currently shown as part of its logo. The direct approach in choosing such slogan arose from the frustration of Israeli consumers with the high cost of living in Israel, with cellular communication rates in particular, and as a means of empathy with consumers. Indeed, upon their introduction, Golan's rates were significantly lower than those offered by the existing wireless providers in the country and quickly forced the other providers to drastically reduce their prices, thus providing a boon to many Israeli wireless telephone subscribers. Iliad had previously made similar market-disrupting moves in the telecom sector in France.
In December 2011 Golan Telecom signed agreements to install base-stations manufactured by Nokia Siemens Networks. Its network is an HSPA+ network in the 2100Mhz band, with roaming also available on Cellcom's 1800Mhz GSM and 850Mhz/2100Mhz HSPA+ network. In September 2013 Golan announced that it will implement a tower sharing agreement with the Orange network. On 18 December 2014 Golan announced the launch of their 4G LTE network.
According to Israeli site Ynet, for several days in May 2012 Pelephone blocked their customers' ability to port their existing wireless number to Golan Telecom, claiming Golan was in violation of regulations involving required subscriber verification and authentication during the porting process. A ruling by the Communications ministry stated that Pelephone had no authority to unilaterally block their customers from moving and instructed the company to lift the block.
- Benayoun, Arik (21 April 2012). "Le Troll de la semaine : Xavier Niel et sa licence de téléphonie israélienne". French: DeGroup News. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- Rouach, Daniel (18 July 2011). "EDITO: ISRAELVALLEY - XAVIER NIEL ET MICHAEL GOLAN (EX-BOUKOBZA) OBTIENNENT LA 5 EME LICENCE D'OPERATEUR DANS LE MOBILE EN ISRAËL." (in French). Israel Valley. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- Kristal, Merav (14 May 2012). "Golan Telecom: NIS 99 Unlimited Package". Ynet (in Hebrew). Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- More call minutes, more internet bandwidth, unlimited SMS and all for NIS9.90 per month and internet surfing at NIS37 per month
- גולן טלקום הגיעה לחצי מיליון מנויים - מס' 1 בגיוסים
- Barclays | Israel Telecom Services
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- Main portal (Hebrew)