Vodafone, Zain in Middle East partner deal

LONDON Mon Sep 3, 2012 2:44am EDT

A pedestrian passes a Vodafone store on Oxford Street in central London, November 10, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs

A pedestrian passes a Vodafone store on Oxford Street in central London, November 10, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Coombs

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LONDON (Reuters) - Vodafone (VOD.L) said it has agreed a deal with Kuwait-based telecoms operator Zain (ZAIN.KW) that would expand the global telecoms group's presence in the Middle East.

The firm said on Monday that under the non-equity partnership agreement it will work with Zain companies in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq, allowing it to offer its customers from other countries lower roaming fees when travelling in the region.

Vodafone, the world's biggest mobile operator by sales, has been seeking new agreements with local operators to spread its coverage while avoiding expensive buyouts or heavy investments.

The firm said the move will enhance both it and Zain's ability to meet growing demand among multinational businesses for sophisticated voice and data communications services.

The deal will complement Vodafone's regional operations in Egypt and Qatar and increase the number of countries in which it has partner agreements to more than 50.

Zain will have access to Vodafone's devices and services in its home markets and be able to use the Vodafone brand.

(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Rhys Jones)

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