By John Lee.
Zain has confirmed rumours that it is close to sealing a deal with Vodafone that would allow the global telecoms group to expand access to networks across countries including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Bahrain.
According to the report from Reuters, Zain has said that it is "at an advanced stage in negotiations towards reaching a strategic partnership agreement with Vodafone".
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.
Zain said it would provide more details on the partnership in the next few months.