Vodafone Group (VOD)


New partnership grows Vodafone in Middle East

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Vodafone (VOD) has signed a multi-country partner deal with Kuwaiti telecoms company Zain which will significantly expand its Middle East presence.

The agreement will see Zain offering Vodafone services and using the Vodafone brand across several of its key networks in the Middle East.

The two firms have identified Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq as the first markets for their new non-equity partnership. This will complement Vodafone's own regional operations in Egypt and Qatar and increase the number of countries in which Vodafone has partner market agreements to more than 50.

Britain's biggest mobile operator said there would be important benefits to multinational customers operating in the region and added it would work with Zain to enhance network coverage and harmonise roaming rates.

"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," commented Ravinder Takkar, Vodafone's chief executive of partner markets.

Zain's deputy chief executive, Hisham Akbar, described the agreement as "groundbreaking".