Bezeq subsidiary Pele-Phone Communications ended the third quarter of 2001 with a net loss of $22.9 million, 15% more than the $20 million it lost in the second quarter.

In the parallel quarter of 2000 the mobile carrier lost $4.5 million.

For the first nine months of 2001, Pele-Phone has lost $56.6 million.

The company reported recruiting 87,000 new subscribers in the third quarter, bringing its subscriber base to 1.76 million people.

Revenue shrank during the third quarter to $201.6 million, from $204.4 million in the previous quarter and $211.5 million in the parallel quarter of 2000.

Chief executive Jacob Gelbard commented that recruitment of new marketing staff had weighed on the company's quarterly results.

During the quarter, Pele-Phone replaced its billing software. The conversion slowed down its subscriber recruitment rate, the company says.

Its third-quarter operating loss rose 8% to $16.9 million, from $15.6 million in the sequential quarter.

Second-quarter results were boosted by decreasing royalties paid to the state retroactive to the beginning of 2001, totaling $4 million.

The company was cash-flow positive in the third quarter, bringing in $79 million, compared with $44 million in the second quarter ¿ an increase of almost 90%. Cash flow for the nine months rose 41% from the parallel period to $165 million.

Gelbard also noted that the company is still designing new strategy after replacing its top management. The plans should be finalized in the fourth quarter, he said. Its main goal is to restore growth next year while upgrading the company's infrastructure to third-generation.