In this Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, photo, Palestinian cell phone provider Wataniya CEO Durgham Maraee speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
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Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are finally getting high-speed mobile data services, after a yearslong Israeli ban that cost their fragile economy hundreds of millions of dollars, impeded tech startups and denied them simple conveniences enjoyed by the rest of the world. Palestinian cellphone providers Wataniya and Jawwal are expected to launch 3G broadband services in the West Bank by the end of this month, Palestinian officials said, after Israel assigned frequencies and allowed the import of equipment.COGAT, an Israeli Defense Ministry branch, said it worked on implementing a 2015 memorandum of understanding with the Palestinians on 3G, and that it expects a launch in two to three weeks.Israel has kept a tight grip on the daily lives of Palestinians since its 1967 capture of Gaza and the West Bank, which includes East Jerusalem, areas sought for a Palestinian state.It noted that Israeli providers siphoned off as much as 30 percent of the potential Palestinian customer base in the West Bank with offers of 3G and 4G services.
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