|Privately held company|
|Predecessor||STET Hellas, TIM Hellas|
|Founded||Athens, Greece July 28, 1992 as STET Hellas Telecommunications S.A.|
|Nassos Zarkalis (Chairman & CEO)
Nicolas Costaras (CIO)
|Owner||Golden Tree Asset Management LP (25%)|
WIND Hellas, formerly STET Hellas, is an integrated telecommunications provider with headquarters in Athens, Greece. WIND is the 3rd largest mobile operator in Greece (after Cosmote and Vodafone) with more than 4.4 million active subscribers (September 2010).
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STET Hellas originated in 1992 with the establishment of TELESTET, a subsidiary of the Italian company STET, now Telecom Italia. On September 30, 1992 the Greek Ministry of Transport and Communications issued a license to STET to create a national mobile telephony services network (GSM). The company invested the sum of 30 billion drachmas (about 88 million Euros) to create the network. This constituted one of the biggest investments in Greece since the end of the Second World War. Commercial operation started on June 29, 1993 when the first call from a mobile phone took place in the country.
From 23 September 1999 TELESTET operated Iridium, the first mobile-telephony dedicated satellite in Greece.
In June 2001 the operator's GPRS service went live. In July 2001 it was awarded the licence to offer a UMTS service for a concession fee of €146.7 million. The UMTS service went live on January 27, 2004.
Rebranding to TIM Hellas
On February 8, 2004, the company’s brand name changed to TIM, the name of the parent company, a part of Telecom Italia and member of FreeMove, the biggest telecommunications alliance in Europe that consists of the companies Orange (UK/France/Switzerland), Telefónica (Spain), ΤΙΜ (Italy) & T-Mobile (Germany).
On April 4, 2005 TIM agreed to sell its 80.87% equity stake in TIM Hellas to funds advised by Apax Partners and Texas Pacific Group (TPG). The transaction was for €1,114.1 million which valued TIM Hellas at €1,600 million or €16.43 per share. The transaction was completed following approval by state authorities in July 2005.
Rebranding to WIND Hellas
On February 7, 2007, Apax Partners and TPG announced that TIM Hellas had been purchased outright by Weather Investments, the telecom holding company of Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris, for 500 million Euros of equity plus 2.9 billion Euros of net debt. The brand name changed to WIND on June 5, 2007, in line with Italian telecom operator WIND Telecomunicazioni SpA.
In December 2009, Nassos Zarkalis, previously head of Hellas On-Line (HOL), became CEO of WIND Hellas.
On October 18, 2010 the principal shareholders in WIND Hellas(Mount Kellett Capital, Taconic Capital Advisers, Providence Equity Capital, Anchorage Capital Group, Angelo Gordon and Eton Park International) took over the company and injected 420 million Euros to reduce debt and fund long-term development plans.
The crisis and the creditors
The economic recession in Greece caused WIND Hellas severe financial difficulties. Sawiris sold the assets of the holding company (Weather Finance III) to a group of creditors, the SSN Ad Hoc Committee. The group of senior bondholders established a new holding company (Largo Ltd) which took full control of WIND Hellas in December 2010 and appointed a new board of directors.
Vodafone merger talks
In 2011 Vodafone opened talks with the owners of WIND Hellas regarding merging the two firms' operations in Greece, to better challenge market leader Cosmote. In February 2012 Vodafone pulled out of the talks.
WIND Hellas subscriber numbers
WIND Hellas issue customers with telephone numbers that begin with either 693 or 690 followed by a seven digit subscriber number. As WIND also own Q-Telecom, they can issue 699 numbers, but these are currently only allocated to new Q-Card customers. Mobile number portability allows customers to port their numbers to and from all Greek networks so WIND customers can also have telephone numbers that were originally allocated to Vodafone or Cosmote.
- Wind Mobile (Canada)
- WIND (Italy)
- Telecommunications in Greece
- STET – Società Finanziaria Telefonica
- "STET Hellas annual report (form 20-F)" (ZIP). 2001. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- "WIND Hellas 3rd quarter 2010 Results" (PDF). October 18, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- "WIND HELLAS Milestones". Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- "European Survey of Information Society Projects and Actions website". Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- "HELLAS Telecommunications I, S.àr.l. quarterly report for the period ended march 31, 2006" (ZIP). 2006. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- "Apax Partners press release". February 7, 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- "WIND Hellas press release" (PDF). October 18, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- "Wind Hellas takeover completed, new board appointed". December 17, 2010.
- Holton, Kate (6 February 2012). "Vodafone abandons Greek talks with Wind Hellas". Reuters. Retrieved 15 September 2012.