Bank Hapoalim's research department today published estimates that Bezeq could be privatized in the course of 2002. This could significantly affect many aspects of the communications market.

The bank does not believe that competition will increase in the coming year. Previous estimates had assumed deployment of fixed wireless infrastructure to compete against Bezeq in the local calls market. The bank states that not only is the nationwide deployment now in doubt due to lack of interest in the CLEC tender, but even a narrower, regional version seems unlikely. This

The bank expects competition in the cellular and multi-channel television markets to increase only slightly. The cable companies complete or partial merger is likely to improve their profitability, but 2002 will still be characterized by high subscriber retention cost due to the discounts designed to meet YES¿s penetration campaign. The bank expects YES subscription rates to continue to increase, albeit at slower rates.