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This article was published on March 4, 2012

Microsoft inks deal to bring Windows Phone to the Middle East & North Africa

Microsoft inks deal to bring Windows Phone to the Middle East & North Africa
Nancy Messieh
Story by

Nancy Messieh

Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]

Microsoft has entered into an an agreement with Kuwait-based telecommunications company, Zain which will see Windows Mobile devices distributed in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Concluding the deal in Barcelona, during Mobile World Congress, Zain is launching the Windows Phone line of devices to its MENA customers. The countries in line to gain access to phones from select manufacturers are Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and South Sudan.

This announcement comes on the back of the news that Microsoft plans to launch an online store catering to the MENA community.

Speaking about the agreement, Zain CEO Nabeel Bin Salamah said, “This agreement with Microsoft, one of the world’s leading technology companies, is just the beginning of yet another example of Zain delivering on its brand promise to achieve our vision of ‘A Wonderful World’.”

He added, “We have the utmost confidence in the capabilities of Windows smartphone technology and believe such an appealing offering will further attract, empower and enhance the lifestyles of our customers.”

According to Gustavo Fuchs, Microsoft Mobility Director, Middle East and Africa, smartphone growth in the MENA region is expected to grow by 38% in 2012.

Fuchs said, “The partnership with local mobile phone operators will help drive the appetite of consumers in the region. We are pleased to cement our long-term partnership with Zain, a company that has been with us since the first version of Windows Mobile was released, and has now embraced Windows Phone as a part of its portfolio.”

This isn’t the only Windows Phone-related news that came out MWC this week. Alex Wilhelm summed up all the news in one handy post, which includes the announcement of the Nokia Lumia 610, a handset running Windows Phone, but with a set of lowered specifications. We’re guessing, with Nokia’s strong position in the MENA market, this is one handset we’re likely to see as a result of the Microsoft-Zain agreement.

MWC also saw the announcement of a Windows Phone version of Skype, as well as the unveiling of Tango, an updated version of Microsoft’s Mobile OS.

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