The partnership agreement announced Monday calls for Vodafone to work with Zain divisions in in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq, and is aimed in part at improving network coverage and trimming costs.
Vodafone already has Mideast operations in Egypt and Qatar.
Financial details weren't disclosed. The companies say they will not be taking equity stakes in one another.
Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund owns nearly a quarter of Zain. Emirati telecom Etisalat last year dropped a $12 billion bid for a large piece of Zain as part of its own effort to expand further across the Middle East.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)