Paltel edges closer to Zain

Paltel to connect with Zain Jordan to offer local call rates between both countries

Tags: JordanPalestinePalestine Telecommunications CompanyRoamingZain - Jordan
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Paltel edges closer to Zain Sealing the deal: Zain Jordan CEO Dr. Abdul Malek Al Jaber, Paltel chairman Mr. Sabih Al Masri, Zain CEO Dr. Saad Al Barrak, and H.E. Jordan Minister of ICT Marwan Jumaa.
By  Roger Field Published  January 26, 2010

Zain Jordan and Palestinian incumbent Paltel have signed a deal to allow their subscribers to roam, and make and receive calls between the two networks at local rates.

The deal, which effectively brings Jawwal, the mobile arm of Paltel, into Zain's 'One Network' group, follows closely from a deal between Orange Jordan and Wataniya Palestine, Jawwal's new rival in the West Bank, to offer their roaming users local rates.

The new service will start on February 1, serving a combined subscriber base of some 4 million users across Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza.

Jawwal is expected to be connected to the rest Zain's One Network at a later stage, potentially allowing the network to cater for 10 million Palestinian living in countries covered by Zain in the Middle East and Africa, according to Sabeeh al-Masri, chairman of Paltel Group.

Dr. Abdel-Malek Al-Jaber, CEO of Zain Jordan said that more details will be announced when the full service is launched on Feburary 1. "We planned meticulously to launch this service. We are confident it will have been worth the wait as we envisage enormous economic and social benefits to the people of both countries," he said.

News of the deal also increased speculation that a merger between the two companies could agreed soon. Earlier this week, Reuters reported that Saad Al Barrak, Zain's CEO, said he hoped to revive and complete a deal to take majority control of Paltel by the end of 2010.

"We hope to complete the merger deal by the end of the year. We are now dealing as one company irrespective of ownership and as if we are two companies with one ownership until the merger is completed," he told Reuters.

In November 2009, Zain confirmed that a deal to take control of Paltel had been abandoned, citing a lack of government approvals for the deal.

The deal would have seen Zain Group take a 56.5% stake in Paltel, with Paltel owning 100% of Zain Jordan.

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