x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Vodafone and du seal roaming deal

du, the UAE's second-largest telecoms operator, and Vodafone, the second-largest telecoms company in the world, reaffirm their partnership agreement.

Almost a year after the UAE mobile operator du announced a strategic partnership with the UK telecommunications giant Vodafone, the companies have successfully negotiated roaming coverage plans and are seeking deals with multinational firms. The partners also reaffirmed their commitment to a long-term local collaboration in a press conference featuring the Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, who is sponsored by Vodafone. The companies, which approved an agreement in January of last year to share technology, operational and marketing services, said their partnership would now move into the "next stage of implementation". "If we are partners with an operator like Vodafone, there are 1,001 things that we can think of in giving [our customers] better service," the du chief executive Osman Sultan said on Wednesday. "We believe that with this alliance we certainly can provide a better experience. We can provide them more value for money and be more convenient." The companies will also begin working on ways to bring exclusive handsets commissioned by Vodafone to the UAE market, as well as introducing Vodafone's mobile broadband services to the region, said Richard Daly, the chief executive of Vodafone Partner Markets. Vodafone's alliance programme has been a boon to the company, as it provides access to high-growth mobile markets with a low-risk strategy that precludes it from taking equity stakes in its partners. Vodafone has agreements with 42 telecoms operators and currently has about 303 million mobile subscribers across five continents. By comparison, du has amassed about 2.75 million subscribers in the UAE since it launched its mobile service in 2007. Mr Sultan denied Vodafone would enter into an equity arrangement with du in the future. He also declined to disclose the amount du paid Vodafone to enter into the commercial partnership. du will announce its third-quarter results on Sunday. dgeorgecosh@thenational.ae