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
Israel, Israeli-occupied territories
Key people
Isaac Benbenisti (CEO)
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 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.[3] 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.[4]

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. Orange decided to let Partner keep using the name because of the network's wide commercial success and brand recognition, with a deal running through 2025,[5] at a rate of NIS 15 million per year.[6] This situation occurred following the sale of the Orange Group by Hutchison Whampoa, which did not include the holding in Hutchison Telecom.

In June 2015 the CEO of Orange, Stephane Richard, stated he would cancel his licensing deal with Israel tomorrow if he was able to.[7] In the following days Richard stated his comments were taken out of context and he supported his deal with Israel and intended to maintain the deal.[8] Richard later clarified his statements stating his comments were not politically motivated and meant only that he wished Orange to only be in countries which they operated and not licensing the name.[9] On 12 June Richard visited Israel and met with Benjamin Netanyahu to personally apologize and to commit to their future partnership with Israel.[10]

On 30 June 2015, Orange and Partner announced a change to their 10-year licensing agreement. Orange paid Partner NIS 168 million, to add an opt out clause to the contract,[11] with which Partner intends to conduct a market survey which is determine the best course of action moving forward.[12] In the first year only Partner can opt out, with either party being able to opt out in the second year.[13] Regardless of which party opts to exercise the out clause, Orange will pay partner an additional NIS 210 million to end the arrangement.[14] Orange stated that the money paid to Partner was purely for re-branding purposes and affirmed their previous statement that their wish to leave Israel is based on desire to discontinue license agreements and maintain only subsidiaries that they control, rather than a boycott.[15] Orange would make the relevant payments over the course of two years and charge it to their books as a mix of marketing, sales, customer services and related expenses.[16] As part of the agreement Orange's research and development activities within Israel would transition to the Orange name, but would be restricted from entering the telecommunications services market.[17]


Partner Communications commenced full commercial operations in January 1999 and by 31 March 2001 had over 1,000,000 subscribers, representing an estimated 21% of the cellular market in Israel at that time.[18] 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.[19]

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 (1800 MHz). 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.[20]

On 15 January 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Partner Communications Reports Q4 and Annual 2011 Results". Business Wire. 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  2. ^ "Ilan Ben-Dov Buys Controlling Interest of Partner". Calcalist. August 12, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  3. ^ Orange CEO Backtracks on Cutting Israel Ties
  4. ^ J.P. Morgan announces Partner Communications' $604 million ADR IPO on Nasdaq; Israeli mobile telephone company founded by Hutchison Whampoa, marketed under The Orange Brand., Business Wire, --November 1, 1999-- 
  5. ^ Richard to Netanyahu: 'Orange doesn't participate in boycotts of Israel
  6. ^ Orange to pay Partner up to €90m
  7. ^ Orange CEO sows confusion on Israel trip aimed to resolve dispute
  8. ^ French telecom exec says company wants to keep investing in Israel
  9. ^ Orange CEO says his company plans to invest more in Israel
  10. ^ French Executive Apologizes to Netanyahu After His Remarks Prompt an Uproar
  11. ^ Israeli Co. to Be Paid Millions After Orange Faux Pas
  12. ^ Israeli affiliate to stop using Orange name in 24 months under new deal
  13. ^ Orange Group and Partner Communications outline new relationship framework agreement
  14. ^ Orange, Partner pave way for cutting ties following BDS controversy
  15. ^ Telecom giant Orange to end Israel presence within 2 years
  16. ^ Orange Redoes Brand Licensing Agreement With Partner Costs Up To $100 Million If It Leaves Israel
  17. ^ Orange strikes new deal with Partner Communications
  18. ^ Investor Releases - Fact Sheet Q1 2001.pdf (PDF) 
  19. ^ Investor Releases - Fact Sheet Q2 2009.pdf (PDF) 
  20. ^ Phone, Internet and TV

External links[edit]