The CEO of Israel's most veteran cellular operator,

Pele-Phone Communications

, says the company expected to shift to profit in the fourth quarter of 2001.

But for the whole year 2001, CEO Yigal Bar-Yossef expects the company to lose $64 million, chiefly because of dropping charges for incoming calls.

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Bar-Yossef also revealed that the company's subscriber base grew by 500,000 during 2000. But in net figures, after subtracting subscribers that left, the base increased by 405,000, or 36%. The company says that the pace of subscribers leaving the company dropped by 45% in 2000 compared with 1999.

Pele-Phone is expected to report 2000 revenue of NIS 3.5 billion, 15% more than in 1999.

Israel has three major cellular operators. Pele-Phone was established in 1986 by Bezeq and Motorola (NYSE:MOT). Cellcom was launched in 1994 and the third,

Partner Communications

(Nasdaq, LSE:PTNR), was established in 1997 and commenced operations in early 1999.