Vodafone and Swisscom agreed to extend a strategic partner market agreement by four years with effect from 2016 to maintain mutual roaming benefits for consumers and enterprise customers.
The two operators have already been collaborating for more than six years and have a combined footprint covering more than 80 markets globally.
Swisscom customers will thus retain access to Vodafone's 4G network, which covers 80 per cent of Europe's population, according to the UK-based operator. In its recent first-half results to end-September, Vodafone also said it had 29.9 million 4G customers across the 19 countries where it offers the high-speed mobile service.
Swisscom also benefits from Vodafone's scale in the area of procurement, including the purchasing of network infrastructure, IT equipment and handsets.
Vodafone's consumer and enterprise customers, meanwhile, are able to roam onto Swisscom's network when visiting Switzerland.
Vodafone Partner Markets CEO Stefano Gastaut said: "We are delighted to renew our longstanding partner market agreement with Swisscom, building towards a decade of successful collaboration."
Vodafone uses non-equity partner market arrangements such as these to target markets where it does not have a presence. In Europe it also has agreements with SFR for the French market and Proximus for Belgium, for example.
It has also been increasingly active in setting up partner market agreements outside of Europe, particularly in Africa. In November, it entered into a new partner market agreement for Nigeria and the Republic of Benin.
Prior to that Vodafone signed a framework agreement with Afrimax Group to explore further opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa, and has so far launched LTE (or 4G) services in limited areas of Uganda under this arrangement.
In October, the group also extended its partner market agreement with MTS to enable the Russian operator to sell 3G services under the Vodafone brand in Ukraine.
On Dec. 1, MTS Ukraine announced the rollout of 3G services under the Vodafone brand in Chernigov. The operator noted that it has already launched its own 3G network in Uzhgorod, Lutsk, Mukachevo, Bukovel, Chernivtsi and Odessa and has also began a phased launch of the network in the capital, Kiev.
- see the Vodafone and Swisscom release
- see the Vodafone and MTS Ukraine release
Vodafone unveils partnership for Nigeria and Benin
Vodafone agrees branding, 3G rollout deal with MTS Ukraine
Vodafone partner Afrimax raises $120M in funding for LTE expansion in Africa
Vodafone unveils partnership for Botswana market
Vodafone Uganda launches 4G services