Israel’s Partner Communications to drop Orange brand

Israel’s Partner Communications is dropping the Orange brand and is to look for a new name, following a dispute with the Orange group in France.

Partner said it had “notified Orange of its decision to terminate the Orange brand licence agreement according to the framework agreement between the parties. Partner will continue providing goods and services under the Orange brand name until further announcement.”

Orange said that it “acknowledges Partner’s decision to terminate the brand licence agreement and re-brand its activities in accordance with the terms and conditions of the June 2015 agreement with Orange. Pursuant to the agreement and as previously announced, Orange will be able to use its brand for its continuing investments in technological innovation in Israel.”

Under the June 2015 agreement, sparked off when Orange CEO Stéphane Richard spoke of his desire to end the brand deal, Partner receives €90 million in compensation – €40 million in staged payments and then €50 million a year after Partner ceases to use the brand. 

The brand licence deal was due to expire in 2025. Partner has used the Orange brand since the late 1990s, when the original UK-based Orange mobile company was controlled by Hutchison Whampoa of Hong Kong. Hutch licensed the name to a number of other operators worldwide, including KPN for its Belgian operation – now rebranded Base. 

France Telecom bought the UK Orange company in 2000 and gradually adopted the Orange brand for all its fixed and mobile operations worldwide – with the exception of Belgium, where the subsidiary is called Mobistar. 

In the Middle East, the French group uses its brand in neighbouring Jordan and is thought to want to rebrand Mobinil in Egypt as Orange. It is believed that having the brand operated by a separate company in Israel led to marketing confusion – especially as the Orange group has venture capital and R&D activities in Israel.