Israel - Calling & Using Internet



How to Phone from Israel with your Smartphone (or from another device) ?

Several options :

1. With an Internet (Wi-Fi) Connection

If you somehow have internet access, you can make free phone calls with a software like Skype. A software like Skype let's you make free phone calls in case your destination has also skype installed or you can call to regular phones and mobiles for very low rates.
How to get internet access ? See down this page.

2. With a Local Sim of one of the cell phone Networks (3G...)

sim card Buy a local Israeli SIM and put it inside your smartphone. You will be able to phone internationally and locally for low rates. You will also get access to Internet.
There are several cellphone companies operating in Israel:
Orange-Partner, Cellcom, Youphone, Pelephone, Hot mobile, RamiLevy, 012mobile, Golan, Hom (The Internet sites are sometimes only in Hebrew).
The cellphone companies have good subscription programs with low monthly rates, but you as a tourist may be more interested with the Pre-Paid options because it doesn't involve any contract. Not all the cellphone companies are offering pre-paid options.
You can buy a SIM card and also charge pre-paid credit at the post offices in Israel. They will tell you at the counter which SIM you can buy for pre-paid (Orange Partner Big Talk is one of them). Also in the commercial centers, there are telecom stands (in the alleys) that sell phones and SIM cards of some companies.

Note : Public phone booths are almost non-existent in Israel, they have disappeared from the streets.
Note : The International phone prefix of Israel is : 972

3. With the Sim of your country

This is usually not going to be the cheapest option. The cell phone company of your country will charge you high for phoning or using internet from abroad. But you can never know, some packages include cheap calls when you are abroad. If you are not sure about the price, buy a local SIM for your stay in Israel.

How to get Internet on your Smartphone and Laptop in Israel ?

1. With an Internet (Wi-Fi) Connection

Your hotel, restaurant or café may provide you with a Wi-Fi connection (or a cable connection). In Israel, almost all Cafés have free Wifi and you don't even need a password in most cases. Other public places are also offering free wifi like : Airports, Trains, Hospitals etc.
There is also a free wifi network all over Tel-Aviv, but it is slow.

2. With a Local Sim of one of the cell phone Networks (wireless, 3G...)

You can get Internet access with one of the cell phone companies mentioned before. It is usually more expensive and slower than a regular wifi connection that you can get in cafés, hotels etc but it gives you freedom to get Internet everywhere you go in Israel. See What to check if you don't see Internet on your smartphone.

A. Getting (cellular) Internet on your Smartphone or Tablet :

A smartphone has a built in cellular reception capability, so you should just put a Sim card inside.
Your Tablet may have a cellular reception capability or not. If not, see Getting Internet on your Laptop.

B. Getting (cellular) Internet on your Laptop :

Usually a Laptop doesn't contain a device for cellular reception (but it could have one).
You can broadcast the Internet to your laptop via your smartphone (this is called Tethering):

Broadcasting Internet to your Laptop via your Smartphone

tethering You can broadcast the Internet that you receive on your smartphone towards your laptop. It is easier than you may think. You can do it with a cable or wireless (wifi).
Here are the general steps:
1. Make sure you receive internet on your smartphone. see here how.
2. Go to the "settings" of your smartphone and search for a menu with a name like "use of data" and then something like "internet broadcast" or "wifi zone"  (the labels depend on the version of your operating system).
You will have two possibilities in that menu and you can check either of them: One is to broadcast wifi, and in that case you just need to choose that wifi network from the list of wifi that appears on your laptop, exactly like you do with any wifi reception on your laptop. (You can see and change the password of that wifi on one of the menus of your smartphone).
The other possibility you will get is to broadcast internet to your laptop via a USB cable connection. Usually, the cable you use to charge your smartphone is good for that (the cable should have a USB connection on one end and a connection to your smartphone on the other end).
All modern smartphones have these capabilities and it is very easy to configure (once you have Internet reception on your smartphone).
I have tried all this and it works well.
About the Internet speed: The speed will usually be determined by what is provided by the cellular company and not by your smartphone technology.

3. With the Sim of your country

As stated before, you can phone and also get Internet with the SIM of your own country instead of a local one. Usually it's going to more expensive. You better buy a local SIM.

Remark:  You can also enter a CyberCafé in Israel and use computers.

The speed of the Internet in Israel

The Internet speed in Israel is good. See a worldwide comparison.

Steps to check in order to receive Internet on your Smartphone :

  1. You should have a pre-paid or post-pay option with a cellular company, the same company of the SIM you inserted into your smartphone. Check that your have credit (with the special number the company provides for that). Make sure the plan includes also Internet (usually it does).
  2. Make sure the "allow cellular data" (cell phone data receiving) is enabled on your smartphone (this is different than wifi reception). You should find it in the "settings" menu of your smartphone. (it will not appear with exactly this title on your smartphone, the menu names depend on the operational system you have on your smartphone)
  3. Make sure your smartphone is not in a "flight mode" (the mode that cuts all communications)
Important Tip : If you have pre-paid credit on your smartphone (in your SIM account) and you are not using Internet, then disable "data reception" or check the "flight mode" because otherwise your smartphone will continue to receive Internet and then the cellular company will charge you for time or data consumption.

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