Orange injects €15 million into Israel’s Partner Communications

Israeli operator Partner Communications has received €15 million from Orange under the terms of a new framework agreement regarding use of the Orange brand in the country.

The deal is the result of a political dispute that erupted following remarks made by Orange CEO Stephane Richard, who stated that he would pull Orange out of Israel “tomorrow morning” if it were legally possible. The Israeli government demanded an apology and the resulting contract could see Orange hand over as much as €90 million if it terminates its licensing deal within the next 2 years.

Partner Communications’ CEO Isaac Benbenisti said that the operator is “currently conducting a market study regarding use of the Orange brand…aimed at assessing our position within the dynamics of the Israeli marketplace, while examining the company’s options”.

He added that Partner had received the permission of the Israeli Ministry of Communications to provide 4G services over a 20MHz block of spectrum, saying: “the 20 MHz band together with our existing deployment of 1,400 4G sites will enable our customers to enjoy a significantly improved data experience.”

Partner’s Q2 profits were down 80% on the same period last year, with a 4% fall in total revenue and a 6% drop in subscribers. It is therefore likely hopeful that the payment from Orange, along with its strengthened 4G offering, will help to reverse this downward trend.

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