Partner Communications Company

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Partner Communications Company Ltd.
Traded as TASEPTNR
Industry Mobile telecommunications
Founded 1999 (1999)
Founder Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited, Elbit and Eurocom
Headquarters Rosh HaAyin, Israel
Area served
Revenue Increase 1.83 billion USD (2011)[1]
Decrease 271 million USD (2011)
Decrease 115 million USD (2011)
Owner Scailex Corporation (51%)
Number of employees

Partner Communications Company Ltd. (operating under the Orange brand name) is a mobile network operator, internet Wi-Fi and fixed telephony service provider in Israel.

The company’s shares are traded on NASDAQ and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, where it is a constituent of the TA-25 Index; since August 2009, Scailex Corporation (owned by businessman Ilan Ben Dov) controls 51% of its shares.[2]


Partner HQ in Afek Industrial Park

Partner was founded in 1999 and was the third mobile network operator to enter the Israeli market, competing with the two incumbent operators - Cellcom (Founded 1994) and Pelephone (Founded 1986). When it was announced that the Ministry of Telecommunication would grant a third cellular network license it was thought that there is no room for another company; hence only two companies responded to the tender: Partner, and a group called "Tapuz". After losing its bid, Tapuz (which incidentally means "Orange" in Hebrew) became a part of Partner.

When it started operating in 1999, Partner was the first GSM cellular network in Israel (the others at the time were using CDMA, TDMA, or iDEN technologies at that time), it allowed Israeli consumers to use their phones in other locations in the world with a similar network. The network was branded under the name "Orange" which was an international brand registered under the name of Hutchison Whampoa Hong-Kong, which was the major initial investor in the company.[citation needed] The successful launch and promotion of the Orange brand is considered one of the best advertising efforts undertaken in Israel.

Founding shareholders[edit]

The initial shareholders in the consortium that bid for the third cellular network license in Israel, in addition to Hutchison Telecom, were Elbit, MATAV (now part of HOT), Eurocom and Polar Communications.

2001 IPO[edit]

In November 1999, only 11 months after it began operating, Partner had an initial public offering on NASDAQ and the London Stock Exchange; the shares were listed under the symbol PTNR on NASDAQ and under the symbol PCCD on the London Stock Exchange. The company raised $604m, enabling the initial investor consortium to recoup a significant portion of their investment swiftly.[3]

In 2001 the shares were also listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange under the symbol PTNR and became a constitute of the TA-25 Index.

Hutchison takes full control[edit]

Through the years the ownership of Partner Communications changed dramatically. The original Israeli partners sold the majority of their shares and eventually held only a small percentage of the company. Other than the public, the biggest shareholder became Hutchison Telecom (51.6%). The Egyptian company Orascom bought 20% of Hucthison, and as a result, held 9.99% of Partner's shares indirectly.

Sale to Scailex Corporation[edit]

During 2009 Hutchison decided to exit their investment in Partner and sold their 51% controlling stake to businessman Ilan Ben-Dov, who made his fortune holding the exclusive rights to market the Samsung mobile phones in Israel. The company was sold to Scailex Corporation (a company controlled by Ben-Dov) for NIS 5.29 billion (about USD $1.38 billion).

Brand ownership[edit]

The 'Orange' brand that the company uses under license, belongs to Orange S.A. (formerly France Télécom), which is not related to the current owners of Partner. However, Orange decided to let Partner keep using the name because of the network's wide commercial success and brand recognition. This situation occurred following the sale of the Orange Group by Hutchison Whampoa, which did not include the holding in Hutchison Telecom.


Partner Communications commenced full commercial operations in January 1999 and by March 31, 2001 had over 1,000,000 subscribers, representing an estimated 21% of the cellular market in Israel at that time.[4] As of June 2009 it has 2,944,000 subscribers and a 32% market share, while the other mobile operators in Israel have: 35% - Cellcom, 29% - Pelephone and 4% - MIRS.[5]

The Orange network utilizes GSM (900 MHz/1800 MHz), UMTS (900/2100 MHz) technology and for 3G services; an HSPA+ network that currently covers over 90% of the country, as well as an LTE network (1800MHz). Users of the network can use advanced services all over the world due to roaming agreements with 350 GSM and 130 UMTS international networks. 23% of the network users are business customers, 29% are pre-paid customers and the rest are private post-paid customers.

The prefix (area code) for 'Orange' customers is 054, although customers who requested to keep their old number from a different cellular company may have a different area code, as required by law.

On January 15, 2007 Partner was granted a license to provide terrestrial telecommunications nationwide which gives it the option to operate a wired telephony; initially the service was provided for large businesses only.

On 1 January 2009, the company commercially launched its ISP services and Landline services (based on the Session Initiation Protocol) for private users and small businesses. These services rely on the combination of Nokia Siemens Network core services and Siemens Gigaset residential gateway. The combination of these allowed Partner to launch several unique services such as multiple calls on a single line, or *77 which allows users to choose whether to answer an incoming call on their home phone or their Orange mobile phone.

Customer complaints[edit]

In December 2010, the company was cited by Channel 2 News and other leading Israeli media for a complaint by a young couple who had ordered a service package. The couple found that they had been misled by the Orange representative, who promised them one package while their monthly billings did not reflect the same numbers. When the couple attempted to locate the agent, they were told by Orange representatives that the agent had died in a horrific traffic accident and that his computer, along with all copies of their documentation, had been destroyed. Shortly after, the couple found that the agent was alive, though not working for Orange any longer.[6]

Other complaints have been launched by customers. For example, one business started a blog called Cellular Agony, describing their year long attempts to reconcile their bills with what their agents had promised them. [7]

Customer service is provided in Hebrew, Russian and Arabic, but not in English. The automatic answering system is very intricate and people who don't speak good Hebrew or have issues with technical lingo get helplessly stuck in the labyrinthic system.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]