The Palestinian Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector employs around 5,000 individuals in 250 companies in the West Bank and Gaza. Around 50% of these companies have partnerships outside the West Bank and Gaza and 40% export to international markets. All types of ICT companies exist including computer hardware and office equipment importers, software development houses, business consulting services, cloud-based software development, automation, mobile computing, digital media, Internet Service Providers, and telecommunication companies. With the development of the Palestinian ICT sector, local demand for computers and peripherals, telecommunication equipment, mobile handsets, outsourcing services and web designing services is growing.
In 2018, the ICT sector took a major step forward with the launch of 3G services in the West Bank and with the introduction of Ooredoo (mobile phone company) phone and data service in Gaza. Jawwal and Ooredoo, the two mobile phone companies operating in the West Bank and Gaza, have a combined 4.3 million mobile subscribers. Currently, only 2G service is available in Gaza. During a visit to the West Bank on July 15, 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden announced that Israeli and Palestinian teams will work together immediately to start the technological surveys, with an aim to roll out an advanced infrastructure for 4G in the near future. This commitment will accelerate digital transformation and foster a more well-connected Palestinian economy. Paltel is the fixed line operator in the West Bank that currently has around 485,829 subscribers.
Internet serves as an important communication tool within the West Bank and Gaza and with the outside world. Today, around 90% of Palestinian households have home Internet access and there are 405,000 broadband ADSL subscribers. Most Palestinians use the Internet for knowledge, research, studying, social media, business-to-business activities, and entertainment. Opportunities exist as internet service providers move from DSL to Fiber and work to install a fiber network.
About one third of Palestinian households own a computer. Most West Bank and Gaza computer hardware companies import directly from international vendors. However, Israel imposes restrictions on ICT imports that are listed as “dual use” products. Exports are limited to software, research and development, and outsourcing services. Some software companies have outsourcing and developing projects for regional and international companies. Most ICT companies providing software development services in the West Bank have transitioned to fiber internet. Palestinian tech workers have displayed strong skills in Python, Excel, and Information Processing and possess a strong foundation for work in data science, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and software development.
The Palestinian ICT sector is represented by the Palestinian IT Association of Companies (PITA), a membership-based non-profit organization. With its 170 members, PITA has been very active in representing the interests of its members, developing the Palestinian ICT sector, and increasing public-private sector partnerships.
- Telecommunication equipment
- Computer hardware
- Networking equipment
- Audio-visual equipment
Good opportunities exist for U.S. exporters of telecommunication equipment, computer networking equipment, cybersecurity, servers, and consumer electronics. Also, good prospects may exist soon in providing 4G service in the West Bank and Gaza.
- Ministry of Telecommunications & Information Technology
- Palestinian IT Association of Companies
- Palestinian ICT Incubator
- Ooredoo Palestine
For further information, please contact:
Assad Barsoum, Senior Commercial Specialist, Assad.Barsoum@trade.gov or +972-2-657-2688.