Q-Telecom

Q-Telecom (Mobile Network Code: 202-09) is the fourth mobile telephony provider in Greece. It is the latest entrant into the market and started its operation in June 2002. The company provides a complete telecom solution and has developed a GSM, LMDS and a backbone network in Greece. It calls itself the first and only complete and integrated telecom provider in Greece. It is popular among younger people, and the company is known for its funny low-cost television and radio advertisements.

By May 2007 Q-Telecom has merged with WIND Hellas (which before 5th June 2007 used the brand name TIM Hellas).

Currently the "Q-Telecom" brand is only used by WIND Hellas for its Q-card prepaid offer which is marketed as a distinct product outside the WIND brand name. The Ya! calling card is also still marketed under the Q-Telecom brand name.

Company profile

Q-Telecom, initially a division of Info-Quest, is the first private integrated Greek operator which aims to provide combined services of mobile and fixed telephony as well as Internet service. Focusing its commercial activities in large urban centers, Q-Telecom developed a second-generation mobile telephony network with the installation of base stations as well as a broadband fixed wireless Access network, point-to-multipoint, operating at 3.5 GHz range. Simultaneously, it develops a national network with the use of leased lines and privately owned transmission systems. Also, Q-Telecom is directly inter-connected with Hellenic Telecommunication Organization, OTE, and the three other mobile operators. Since its commercial launch it has offered high quality voice transmission, high transfer rate of call switching, and pan-Hellenic coverage.

Q-Telecom provides a wide range of integrated telecommunications solutions and services for both businesses and home users. Q-Telecom is a pioneer in the Greek market by offering, from the beginning of its launch, combined services of mobile telephony with the prefix 699 (prepaid and postpaid), SMS and fixed telephony via the carrier selection code 1765. Q-Telecom differentiates itself by providing customized services, per second billing from the first second of the call, elimination of set-up fees, mobile number selection, preferential rates with Q-Family, the lowest tariff rate for SMS from the first SMS, added value services, etc.

In the first trimester of its operation, Q-Telecom had already established more than 900 selling points all over Greece by exploiting alternative distribution channels such as ACS courier.


Acquisition by APAX Partners and Texas Pacific Group

An acquisition company, Troy Communications, owned by private equity funds advised by Texas Pacific Group and Apax Partners signed a conditional acquisition agreement on October 28, 2005 with Info-Quest S.A. for the acquisition of its telecommunication business operated under the trademark Q-Telecom.

The acquisition of the 100% stake of the company that will own the business will be for a cash consideration of €325 million and the assumption of existing indebtedness of €25 million. The acquisition agreement is conditional upon, among other things, obtaining approval from the relevant regulatory and competition authorities.

Troy Communications also owns the third largest Greek mobile phone provider WIND Hellas. According to information from APAX and TPG, they do not intend to merge the two providers. Q-Telecom will continue to operate independently under its current management team led by Mr. Constantine Prigipakis.

According to the same information from APAX and TPG, WIND Hellas will integrate Q-Telecom's technical and sales departments. It is also rumoured that WIND Hellas will benefit from Q-Telecom's fixed telephony and internet infrastructure in order to provide combined solutions to its customers.

For more information on the acquisition visit the APAX partners' announcement[dead link – history] of this acquisition.

The acquisition of Q-Telecom by the new owners has been completed and as of June 2007 Q-Telecom subscribers can use WIND GR's network for national roaming. Q-Telecom SIM cards have been over-the-air (OTA)-updated and now WIND GR is the preferred national roaming network.


Acquistition by Weather Investments and merger with Wind Hellas

WIND Hellas (together with its subsidiary Q-Telecom) have been acquired by Weather Investments of the Egyptian entrepreneur Naguib Sawiris, owner of Wind Italia and Orascom Telecom. Q-Telecom has finished merging with WIND Hellas (which before 5th June 2007 was known as TIM Hellas). The Q brand remains only for Q-card prepaid, offered as a distinct product. All Q1 (postpaid) and Q-business customers were ported to WIND Hellas in April/May 2007.

The above mentioned postpaid customers were offered new WIND Hellas SIM cards retaining their old numbers, while old Q-card customers, before the merger, continue to use their Q-Telecom SIM cards, although they are always roaming on the WIND Hellas network, new Q subscribers are given SIM cards that appear to be Q-card but actually have Wind Hellas (MNC: 202 10) as their home carrier. The radio network of Q-Telecom (MNC: 202 09) was disbanded in May 2007 and Q-Telecom's bands are going to be used by Wind Hellas on its radio network (MNC: 202 10). Q-Telecom employees are now working for WIND Hellas and the only part of the old company that remains in operation as is, is the former marketing division of Q-Telecom which operates as a separate part of WIND's marketing division, dedicated especially to the promotion of Q-card which is marketed outside the WIND brand because of its significantly recognizable brand name and its considerable subscriber base (reaching almost one million Q-card prepaid subscribers).


Retail services

Mobile telephony

Q-Telecom had developed a GSM network in the 1800 band and used to cover three main urban areas of the country Athens, Thessaloniki and Larissa. However, was disbanded after its recent acquisition. The company now serves its subscribers through the network of WIND Hellas.

At the time of its introduction, Q-Telecom's policies, such as billing calls by the second with no minimum charges per call, were a novelty for the Greek market. However, similar offerings have since emerged on the prepaid market. Q-Telecom also introduced the first postpaid program charging no monthly fees, Q1, making it suitable for those who speak about 70 minutes per month, which has since been discontinued, in order for the company to focus on the prepaid market.

Q1 users could use their mobile phone abroad, taking advantage of Q-Telecom's roaming agreements with foreign networks. However its prepaid plan, Q Card1, still lacks roaming support.

Q-Telecom's prefix in the Hellenic National Numbering Plan is 699 for mobile telephony. Number portability is available and another network's user can call 13822 from his mobile phone free of charge in order to get his mobile number transferred to Q-telecom.

Currently all other offers besides Q-card have been discontinued and all Q1 (postpaid) and Q-business customers have been ported to WIND Hellas, with a special WIND1 program created especially to match the Q1 offer for ported customers.

Q-card remains as a low-cost prepaid product by WIND Hellas and it is marketed outside the WIND brandname, because of its significantly recognizable brand name as a low-cost prepaid solution.


MMS, WAP, and value added services

The company started providing multimedia messaging service (MMS) in 2005. Its Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) portal, named Be Q, offers services like ringtones, logos and games. It was launched in July 2006 and a general packet radio service (GPRS) internet access solution is expected in the following months. Value-added services like news, weather, ringtones, logos and others also continue to be provided through the voice-recognition enabled MyQ Voice Portal and the MyQ SIM menu.

Call notification service is also available. This is a service that notifies user if they have received any calls while their phones were switched off or out of service. Q-Telecom's call notification service is innovative in the way that it can co-exist with the voicemail service.


Fixed phone services

Q-1765 Residential and Business

Q-Telecom offers residential and business customers a carrier selection service with low tariffs using the 1765 carrier selection code. It also offers free carrier preselection (in which a customer's calls are routed through Q-Telecom without the need for the carrier selection code 1765). However, new applications will no longer be accepted for this service from May 1, 2007. Existing customers will continue to be served.


Ya! telephone card

The Ya! telephone card by Q-Telecom is a prepaid scratch card that allows calls to be made from residential or public phones at lower rates. It is used mainly by young people, students, people from other countries living in Greece, and tourists for its offers in international call rates. Ya means two things in Greek. Γεια means "hello" and για means "for", so the card's slogans are "Say Hello", "For everyone", "For (calls to) all over Greece and the world". The Ya! calling card is one of the two products still marketed under the Q-Telecom brand name, together with Q-card, as both are highly recognizable as low-cost solutions.


Internet myQnet

Q-Telecom offers public switched telephone network, PSTN, at 56K and ISDN (at either 64K or 128K) dialup services, as well as ADSL access (at 768, 1024 or 2048) to residential customers through an agreement with the Greek ISP Hellas On Line. The service is offered under the myQ brand name as myQnet. The service has been discontinued and only existing customers will be continue to be served.


Business services

Q-Telecom, as the only full telecom operator in Greece, offers a complete solutions to companies with Voice, Data, Internet and Mobile services. Q-Telecom has a completely independent network using its national backbone (connecting Athens, Larissa and Thessaloniki) and LMDS, or point-to-point microwave connections, to connect its business customers.

Q-Telecom has reserved the number ranges starting with 19 in most urban areas for providing fixed phone numbers to its customers. For example, in Athens Q-Telecom has reserved numbers (roughly) in the 21-19 range, in Thessaloniki the 231-19 range, and in Larissa the 241-19 range. More precise information on the numbering resources reserved by individual Greek telecom companies can be found at the EETT numbering resources site. EETT is the telecommunications and postal regulator of Greece. OTE has reserved all ranges starting with 0 in all area codes around Greece. The services are now offered through WIND's business customer division and Q-Business has been discontinued.


TV and radio campaigns

Q-Telecom is known in Greece for its funny and low cost publicity campaign on both TV and radio. The ads contain small cartoon characters that resemble the company's logo, and use slang to promote the company's values such as "no fixed fees", as well as advertising the company's frequent offers.

The TV commercials feature the small Q creatures (the "Q-ies" or "Q-δάκια" in Greek, and this is how they are unofficially called by Q-Telecom marketing staff although they have no official name) that look like the company's logo but dressed like magicians, rabbits, or "afro-dudes", using clever slang expressions to highlight the company's offers against other companies.

The famous radio spots feature the Q sounds, which include the imitation of the chicken's cluck or the church psalms by actors who, instead of using normal sounds, repeat the letter Q. [1]





Customer Service

All the services are supported by the Customer Care on a daily basis (24 hours, 365 days per year), tel (+30) 211 999 3000.


Links

Q-Telecom's official website in Greek and English

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/"
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