Partner Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; TASE: PTNR) CEO Isaac Benbenisti, who is taking part in the "Globes" Marketing, Advertising, Digital, and Communications Conference, today said in his conference speech, "I do not think that anything usual happened yesterday," referring to the Ministry of Communications announcement that it was vetoing the agreement between HOT Mobile Ltd. and Golan Telecom Ltd.. "The market is very sensitive to such announcements and others by companies or the Ministry of Communications, but you have to look at the trend, and the trend is very clear. Three or four years ago, the communications market was at the wrong equilibrium, and is now in a stabilization phase, with the formation of communications groups."
"Globes": In other words, prices hikes.
Benbenisti: "No, I'm not talking about higher prices. We're talking about equal competitive conditions for everyone, in which each company operates according to its license terms and the law."
You announced a new brand six months ago.
"I have a goal and path that cannot be judged in six months. We did a lot of things over the past year that not many companies would have done. Our branding of a company in six months has no equivalent anywhere in the world. They told us it would take at least 18 months to study the brand and enter the replacement process nothing less than that could be considered. We did the branding in six months. All the company's customers, to the very last one, realized that there was a new brand of a communications group.
"A company like Partner, a significant factor in the market, has a mission. We're not a small niche company that affects only itself. It has been written about us and about me that we're doing great things. One of them is the fiber optical project we announced, and we're in the advanced stages of it."
Ultimately, we hoped that Partner would enter the television market, but this is not happening.
"We'll be there. The television market is interesting and complicated in every aspect. It is a market that is undergoing changes all over the world in content, such as Netflix and others. In the US, the market is being revolutionized, and it will come here, too. We're looking 10 years ahead with a solution suitable for the up-to-date market. What's suitable today will be irrelevant in 10 years. We'll enter this market soon as part of an overall array, including our becoming a comprehensive communications group. There's room for another player in the market, given appropriate regulatory conditions. Where fiber optics is concerned, we're just getting started. We can provide television on the Internet."
You're saying Internet in every home, but what about a consumer living on an isolated street in Kiryat Gat? Will your reach him?
"The answer is yes. The reason why the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) (TASE: ELEC.B22) fiber optical venture is stuck is not the infrastructure."
Golan Telecom says that the market will not stabilize.
"We've got nothing against Golan Telecom. It's a very stabilizing thing to say that anyone who is in the market and has received registration will work according to the terms of his license, and not beyond it, that there will be 400 players. Everyone who has signed conditions with the state should fulfill those conditions. We want everyone to play on equal terms. If the state wants to grant concessions to someone, that's all right, I'm not arguing against it. We're talking about obeying the law what could be simpler than that?"
When asked for a forecast about the market's development, Benbenisti said, "I'm very optimistic, because I look at the overall picture, and don't get excited about a day like yesterday, when a share jumps after an announcement, just like I don't get excited when something happens in the other direction. When I zoom out, I'm optimistic. The market is undergoing healthy consolidation into strong communications groups that will compete with each other for the consumer in all types of communications. The formation of these groups is taking place under intensive competition. It has ended, and it's not close to the end. I'm optimistic, because I know exactly what our path is and where we're going. The market is in an excellent phase, and the customer will get excellent service, with excellent technology and infrastructure. Partner knows exactly what it's doing."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 14, 2016
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016