(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Zain Group and Palestine Communications Group (Paltel) signed an agreement on Monday to launch the "One Network" service between Jordan and Palestine, serving over four million mobile customers in both countries.
According to the deal, to go into effect as of February 1, all Zain customers will be billed as local clients for voice and data services and receive free incoming calls when travelling to any country covered by the Zain network.
The move will see Paltel's mobile service, Jawwal, join the service initially with Zain Jordan only at this stage and eventually expanding the connection to all other Zain "One Network" countries, according to a statement by Zain.
Meanwhile, Zain and Paltel stressed their determination to go ahead with procedures to complete a strategic partnership deal that was signed in May 2009, but scrapped in November due to "not receiving required government approvals and incomplete transactions".
"We hope to merge the two companies in the near future… we will work on overcoming impediments that were faced and probably in three or six months or a year time we will seriously reconsider the issue after overcoming all obstacles," Paltel Group Chairman Sabeeh Masri said at a press conference.
Under the deal, which the two companies signed last year, Paltel was supposed to claim 100 per cent of Zain operations in Jordan in exchange for a majority of stake in PalTel.
Masri stressed that cooperation between the two sides is currently in the field of networks and services.
Zain Group Chied Executive Officer Saad Al Barrak emphasised that there will eventually be a merger between Zain and Paltel, adding: "We already work as one company regardless of the merger and the ownership."
Zain Jordan Chief Executive Officer Abdul Malek Al Jaber indicated yesterday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met on Monday with Barrak and Kuwait's ambassador in Jordan, and stressed his approval and full support to the merger deal between Paltel and Zain.
In the press conference, Jaber said prices will be announced during the few coming days.
Barrak, who described "One Network" as an unstoppable reality in the world of telecommunications, said: "Once again, we are redefining the notion of mobile telecommunication coverage, making roaming services accessible to all. In doing so, we are fulfilling our brand promise of 'A wonderful world'."
Masri said that the agreement demonstrates the commitment from both sides to increase cooperation and offer the best services to customers in Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza.
"We are on the threshold of a new era, providing value-added services with a regional dimension," he declared. "Today, starting with Jordan, we can one-day soon envisage serving more than 10 million Palestinians all over the Zain 'One Network' in the Middle East and afar," Masri said in the presser.
Present at the signing ceremony were Information and Communications Technology Minister Marwan Juma and Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Chief Commissioner Ahmad Hiyasat, who emphasised their support to the deal signed between Zain and Paltel.
"The government is committed to facilitate investments in the Kingdom and improve investment climate and you have all our support," Juma said after signing the deal.
For his part, Barrak commended the signing of the deal, saying: "Zain is the first mobile operator in the world to launch the One Network."
By Mohammad Ghazal