(Updated) Breaking: Twitter in Talks With Zain, the Largest Mobile Operator in the Arab World, for Regional SMS Deals.

15 Aug, 2009
Twitter logo

Twitter logo

Update: (Sorry guys there was miss understanding, It is a source/s inside and outside Zain who confirmed that Zain is in talks with Twitter for SMS notifications deal across their branches in the region. As for Zain PR they wrote on an email, that SMS connections are under discussion with different social networking services and No date is set yet. Again other sources also tipped ArabCrunch that Twitter is in talks with other operators in the Arab region for SMS deals (more about this soon.) You might probably know that Twitter is publicly interested to get it 2-way SMS up and running on Iraq. (read Time magazine story about Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, last April visit to Iraq under the sponsorship of the US government.) Iraqi Mobile Operators AsiaCell  on their part declined to provide information to ArabCrunch when I asked them questions regarding any deal with Twitter, saying: “can’t provide you with such information for it is confidential.” You can draw your own conclusion out of this answer. AsiaCell  is one of 3 mobile operators in Iraq: Zain Iraq and Korek.)

Twitter ended last year  its free out bound SMS in bound notifications  to users worldwide excluding 3 countries because it costs them around 1000 USD per user/year. But now it is using the global media buzz they are getting to snap cheap or free deals with Mobile operators around the world, including the Arab world, ArabCrunch learned.

Kuwait based Zain the 3rd largest mobile operator in the world with a commercial presence in 24 countries, has confirmed (Update: a source/s inside Zain has confirmed) to ArabCrunch that they Zain is in talks with Twitter for SMS notifications deal across their branches in the region. Other source/s have also told ArabCrunch that Twitter is in trying to strike 2 ways SMS deals with more operators in the region . (I am following up on this  and will update you on AC.)

Update: It was Zain PR who said on a previous  email that no launch date is set yet, and that things are still under discussion (Update: with different social networking.) Zain refused to comment on the details of the discussions, however I expect the Twitter 2 way SMS deal if agreed on will include short local codes and will not cost Twitter a penny.

WatWet new Logo

WatWet new Logo

On the other hand, WatWet the regional Microblogging and messaging startup that has more members than Twitter in the region, has very recently added new local numbers for receiving SMS notifications with more 7 regional operators  after Zain Jordan: Jawwal in Palestine, MTC Touch Lebanon, STC and Zain KSA in Saudi Arabia, Etisalat in Egypt, Etisalat and Du in United Arab Emirates. WatWet also now broke from Friending into the following methods with private profiles and “@” messages.

In the Arab world Zain operates in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq , Saudi Arabia and Sudan as Zain, and in Lebanon as mtc touch (under a management contract). And now in Palestine via Zain Jordan’s recent merger with Paltel. Paltel is the only Palestinian fixed and mobile (‘Jawwal’) operator ( Paltel has a base of 1.5 million active mobile customers and over 363,000 fixed line customers, as well as approx 78,000 ADSL customers as of March 31, 2009. Zain Jordan, has over 2.35 million active mobile customers. The merger is expected to generate over US$1 billion of revenues this year.)

Zain operates in 24 Arab and African countries with a workforce of over 15,000 providing a comprehensive range of mobile voice and data services to over 69.5 million. It operates in the following countries: Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. In Lebanon, the company manages the network on behalf of the government operating as mtc-touch. In Morocco, Zain in a joint venture owns 31% of Wana Telecom.
Zaina achieved in its the half-year ending 30 June 2009: Consolidated Revenues of US$4.014 billion a 37% increase , and a Net Income US$533.5 million a 4.4% increase.

#You can follow ArabCrunch on Twitter: @ArabCrunch on WatWet: @ArabCrunch

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  1. guest  |  August 15th, 2009 at 8:00 PM #

    since when is zain the third largest mobile operator in the world?

    maybe it is the third in the mideast after Etisalat and Orascom.

  2. Ali  |  August 15th, 2009 at 8:24 PM #

    Hope the discussions lead to a agreement, Waiting.

  3. ArabCrunch  |  August 16th, 2009 at 12:32 AM #

    thanx for the comments guys, I was sleeping: In terms of country footprint, Zain is the 3rd largest mobile operator in the world with a commercial presence in 24 countries. look here under about Zain: http://www.zawya.com/zain/story.cfm/sidZAWYA20090

    I do not claim to be i am a telco expert, but for sure zain wont provide wrong information about it self in a press release. Etisalat and Orascom do not match Zain in terms of the number of countries they operate in.

    Now back to bed :D

  4. زين تسعى لجلب تويتر إلى شبكتها | تيدوز  |  August 16th, 2009 at 11:02 AM #

    [...] المرجع: ArabCrunch [...]

  5. Who’s that Tweeting in Zain’s Ear? :Business Express  |  August 16th, 2009 at 2:07 PM #

    [...] alter outgoing SMS backwards to the concern right of U.S., Canada and the UK in a care with Zain. ArabCrunch reports… Kuwait supported Zain the 3rd maximal ambulatory cause in the concern with a [...]

  6. WeziWezi A New Twitter Clone From The Arab World But Location Based, With Universal SMS …More like BrightKite!  |  August 18th, 2009 at 2:29 PM #

    [...] within 3 months.) Twitter on the other hand has no Free SMS notifications in the Arab world yet, though this might to be coming soon. As for WatWet, SMS notifications is limited in Jordan to one operator: Zain,  Jawwal in Palestine, [...]

  7. TripleM  |  August 21st, 2009 at 10:35 PM #

    Just to be clear on that; Orascom is MENAs largest in terms of current subscribers while Zain is the largest in term of penetration rate and countries of operation which makes Zain the 3rd largest mobile operator in the world.

  8. WeziWezi A New Twitter Clone From The Arab World But Location Based, With Universal SMS …More like BrightKite! - interactiveME  |  August 23rd, 2009 at 9:36 AM #

    [...] within 3 months.) Twitter on the other hand has no Free SMS notifications in the Arab world yet, though this might to be coming soon. As for WatWet, SMS notifications is limited in Jordan to one operator: Zain,  Jawwal in Palestine, [...]

  9. Twitter ya Kuweereza SMS ku Zain  |  September 8th, 2009 at 10:03 AM #

    [...] SMS ezigenda wonna wabweeru wa America, Canada ne Bungereza. Enteeseganya zino ezirimu ne Zain. ArabCrunch n’ebisingawo… Kampuni y’omu Kuwait eya Zain nga ye kampuni y’amasimu [...]

  10. عاجل: اطلاق النسخة التجريبة من “كزالك”, اول تطبيق تويتر عربي لسطح المكتب ( يدعم كل انظمة التشغيل)  |  October 19th, 2009 at 8:19 AM #

    [...] النصية مع عدد من مشغلي الجوال في المنطقة العربية كما ذكرنا سابقا وحصريا في عرب كرنش النسخة الانجليزية. وهذه الامور مجتمعة تشكل [...]

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