Following on from reports at the end of last month that UK mobile giant Vodafone Group was close to signing a roaming deal with Kuwait’s Zain, the former has now confirmed the agreement. Claiming that the deal ‘significantly expands Vodafone’s presence in the Middle East and provides Zain with greater access to Vodafone’s global footprint’, the pair have reportedly inked a Partner Market agreement. Under the terms of the non-equity partnership agreement, Vodafone noted that it will work with Zain’s subsidiaries in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq to provide customers with communications services. The deal, the UK company claims, will ‘enhance both Zain and Vodafone’s ability to meet growing demand among multinational businesses for sophisticated voice and data communications solutions as well as advanced roaming services within the Middle East’. Further, Vodafone has said that the development will complement its existing regional operations in Egypt and Qatar, while increasing the number of countries in which it has Partner Market agreements to more than 50.
As per the deal, Zain will gain access to Vodafone’s devices and services in its home markets, while also becoming the latter’s preferred partner in respect of the agreed areas of cooperation. The pair will reportedly work to provide customers with ‘enhanced network coverage’ and ‘harmonised roaming rates across multiple countries with greater cost efficiencies’, while it has also been confirmed that Zain will be permitted to utilise the Vodafone brand.
Ravinder Takkar, CEO, Vodafone Partner Markets, said of the development: ‘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.’ Zain Group Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer, Hisham Akbar, added: ‘The partnership with Vodafone will allow Zain to bring tangible benefits to both its customers and employees … 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.’