Vodafone and Zain close to roaming agreement

Vodafone and Zain close to roaming agreement

Vodafone and Kuwaiti operator Zain are reportedly close to sealing a roaming and handset procurement agreement that would enhance Vodafone’s coverage in the Middle East.

"Zain Group is at an advanced stage in negotiations towards reaching a strategic partnership agreement with Vodafone," the company said in a statement to newswire Reuters.

Through the agreement Vodafone would expand its coverage to important Middle Eastern markets including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Bahrain, allowing the British mobile operator to offer lower roaming fees to customers travelling in the region.

Vodafone has recently been seeking to expand its presence into new countries through roaming deals and carrier agreements rather than acquisitions and network investment. Last year the British operator is thought to have signed agreements with at least 10 Asian carriers to improve network coverage and lower roaming rates for its commercial and enterprise customers.

Vodafone’s Middle Eastern presence is restricted to Qatar, Egypt, and Libya, while Zain operates networks in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Sudan, Iraq and Jordan.

Zain said that it may announce the details of the partnership before the end of the month.