Palestinian cellphone company launches 3G, after Israeli ban

IndustriesAssociated Press

A Palestinian cellphone provider says it has launched 3G high-speed mobile data service in the West Bank, following a years-long Israeli ban.

The ban, which Israel had linked to security concerns, cost the Palestinian economy hundreds of millions of dollars. It denied Palestinians conveniences enjoyed by most of world where faster 4G service is increasingly commonplace.

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Spokesman Ahmed Abu Aliya says the Jawwal company launched 3G on Tuesday and that smaller competitor Wataniya is to follow Wednesday.

Palestinian officials have said Israel continues to ban 3G in the Gaza Strip, dominated by the militant group Hamas.

The Jawwal launch coincided with a West Bank commercial strike, called to protest U.S. recognition of contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Several activists said they used 3G to show shuttered shops live on Facebook.

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