Vodafone (Newbury, UK) and Zain (Kuwait City, Kuwait) have signed an agreement that will allow each operator to use the other’s networks and services in the Middle East.
Vodafone already has similar arrangements in place under its ‘Partner Market’ program. The deal with Zain means this program now runs in 50 countries where Vodafone is active.
The UK operator says it will work with Zain companies in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq to provide customers with new communications services.
Multinational businesses in the region are increasingly demanding more sophisticated voice and data communications services, besides lower roaming rates, according to Vodafone.
The UK operator runs local operations in Egypt and Qatar, but lacks a presence elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Zain will gain access to Vodafone’s devices and services and be able to use the Vodafone brand in its home markets.
The two operators say they will work together to give customers better network coverage and harmonized roaming rates across countries.
Customers of Vodafone Global Enterprise will also be able to add Zain countries to their existing contracts for international managed services.
Vodafone also intends to introduce new mobile-phone price plans for multinational corporations across the two organizations’ shared area of operations.
“The partnership with Vodafone will allow Zain to bring tangible benefits to both its customers and employees,” said Hisham Akbar, Zain’s deputy chief executive and chief operating officer, in a statement. “This groundbreaking agreement will give our customers innovative products and services from around the world. At the same time, Vodafone’s commercial insights and technical expertise will translate into significant operational efficiencies for Zain over the long-term as we transition our networks to next generation networks and beyond.”
Ravinder Takkar, chief executive of Vodafone Partner Markets, added: “Our agreement with Zain provides an opportunity for Vodafone to build its presence and work with a leading operator in the Middle East. By combining the geographical reach of our companies’ respective networks, we can strengthen and deepen the benefits to our customers operating in these large and dynamic markets.”