In Israel, a mobile phone company called Snap is widely regarded as a pioneering innovator in the mobile internet sector.
Now, its app is on the verge of launching in the US, a move that could set a precedent for other tech companies that hope to make inroads into the American market.
“I’ve been using Snap for years, and it has always been a good app,” said Yossi Nefesh, a resident of Tel Aviv.
“I use it almost every day and I think it is a great tool for business and the government to manage its finances.”
Snap’s founders and CEO, Shlomo Yudai, have been working in Israel for more than a decade.
But in that time, the company has launched apps in dozens of other countries, including Canada, the UK and the US.
The app’s focus on the internet has given it an edge in its home market, with users in the United States and Canada reporting faster speeds than Israeli residents, and in some cases even faster than Israeli households.
Yudai and his team have also created an app that allows users to make payments online, which in turn is helping to expand Snap’s business in Israel.
The Israeli government is paying $150 million for the rights to the app and its service, which will be made available to all Israeli consumers starting in mid-October.
“We have been able to attract an additional $150-million in the first quarter alone from the US government,” Yudau said.
“If we can reach a large amount of American consumers, we will be in a position to offer services to a broader audience.”
But some Israelis are not impressed by Snap’s plan to sell the rights in Israel to other countries.
“The only way for us to get access to the US market is to build our own app, and I don’t think Snap is the best solution for that,” said Rafi Alon, a senior analyst with Israeli market research firm Ovum.
Alon said the app is a far cry from the services Snap offers in the Israeli market.
Snap has been working with other US tech companies in Israel, and has launched a number of apps in other countries like the UK, but the company remains focused on Israel.
Yudan said the Israeli government had agreed to license Snap to an American company for the app, which is currently available for download in the country.
Yossel Hagen, a spokesman for Snap in the U.S., said the US is “working with the US authorities to explore options to expand the Snap service to the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.”
“The United States is a country with a very strong network of broadband providers and is the leader in broadband penetration and innovation,” Hagen said in a statement.
“As part of this initiative, Snap will be adding access to these countries in the coming months.”
The Snap app launched in the UK in late September, but was later removed from there due to high data caps and slow speeds in the region.
“Snap is very pleased to announce that we have entered into a strategic partnership with Snap, the world’s leading mobile payments platform, to provide a fully fledged Snap app in the next few weeks,” Snap said in an emailed statement.
“This partnership will enable the two companies to offer Snap users in our countries the convenience and speed of the app on a monthly basis.
Snap will also be launching a new Snap app and a new mobile banking app in these markets in the months to come.”
Alon said that Snap’s move in Israel “has some interesting and potentially important implications for the American broadband market,” including for the viability of the US mobile internet market.
“In the US the incumbents dominate the market and they’re making significant money off of the mobile network,” he said.
“It makes sense for Snap to be there.”
Yudan declined to comment on whether Snap had begun testing the new US app in Israel or whether it planned to expand into the US after launching the UK app.
Alon noted that the US and Israel are in the same age bracket, with the number of American households expected to grow by 20% over the next five years.
“It’s a great idea for Snap and its partners to bring their services to the American consumer,” Alon wrote.
“The American consumers are used to getting their phone service at home, but this service is only available for a fraction of their daily consumption.
And Snap’s app is very simple to use.
They should really focus on providing a real mobile banking service.””
But this is also the time when Snap is looking to expand,” he added.
“This is where the app’s potential is to have real impact.”