The Israeli mobile firm Partner announced this week that it had commenced operating under its own name after it split with the French operator Orange in 2015, following a diplomatic dispute.
Orange announced back in June 2015 that it would retake control of the Israeli brand, which had previously been licensed to Partner for use in the country until 2025. The company agreed to pay up to 90 million Euros to regain control. Currently, Orange operates research facilities in Israel, but not a network. The attempts by the French company to take back the Orange brand in Israel led to a major diplomatic row between themselves and Partner. The row came to a head after the head of the company, Stephane Richard, made comments which were interpreted as a desire to boycott Israel for political reasons.
In June, Mr. Richard told a conference in Cairo that if it was legally possible, he would break the deal with Partner immediately. The comments were taken as support for a boycott campaign which was led by Palestine. Currently, Partner also operates in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which under international law are considered to be illegal. The Prime Minister of Israel was angered by Richard’s comments, deeming them ‘miserable’. Mr Richard later said that the comments he made were misinterpreted, adding that he didn’t support any form of boycott and just wished for Orange to retake control of its Israeli brand.
Orange has consistently maintained that the split between the two firms was amicable. The company logo has begun to disappear from Partner mobile phone screens, whilst any Orange signage which appears in stores will be removed soon, according to a representative for Partner.
For more information about the countries where Orange operates, contact Orange customer services.