2-Connect pulls out of Bahrain licence auction

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By  Published  November 30, 2006

2-Connect, a Bahraini telecoms provider, has withdrawn from the bidding process for two new wireless licences in the country. It had been speculated that the telco intended to offer around BD2.5 million (US$6.6 million) for the one of the country\'s national fixed wireless services (NFWS) licences before reconsidering the decision. The head of 2-connect, Fahad Al Shirawi, had previously criticised Bahrain\'s communications policy, saying that the kingdom\'s telecommunications sector needs to be subjected to increased competition, comparing Bahrain to its closet neighbour Saudi Arabia. “Saudi Arabia has largely got things right and where they have made mistakes they have made a lot less than Bahrain has. But it\'s not too late for Bahrain,” Al-Shirawi said. 2-Connect was thought to be in a relatively strong position to win one of the NFWS licences and its decision to withdraw from the bidding, and its refusal to state why, has been met with surprise from industry commentators. There is now some speculation that the successful bidder will collaborate with 2-Connect on infrastructure solutions, with the firm possibly intending to deploy its state-of-the-art Wi-Fi mesh technology throughout Bahrain. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain will award the new licences in January 2007.

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