Bahrain’s second GSM license praised

Arab Advisors says that attractive terms for bidders and growth potential in the Bahraini market make the license worth looking at.

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By  David Ingham Published  February 18, 2003

Bahrain’s second mobile licence is well worth bidding for, according to Arab Advisors Group. March 5 is the deadline for submitting proposals and according to the analyst, the terms and provisions of the license plus growth potential make it an attractive proposition.

“It is very evident that the government of Bahrain is very keen on introducing competition to its communications market,” said Jawad Abbassi, president of Arab Advisors Group. “The new mobile operator in Bahrain will have incentives and privileges unseen before in other Arab market.”

Amongst those incentives are an annual licence fee of 1% of gross revenues; the right to use Batelco's GSM infrastructure until its own network has been completed; and the right, but not the obligation, to offer 3G services.

“With an upfront license fee of US $265,000 only, the emphasis in this beauty contest tender is not on maximising immediate governmental financial gains, but making the new network quite viable right from the start,” says Abbassi.

Besides the incentives that are being offered, Bahrain is seen as attractive because of its growth potential. “The number of mobile users who are between the ages of 14 and 21 has risen rapidly in the last two years...” says Hala Baqain, Bahrain analyst at Arab Advisors.

“With this increase in the young generation of users, the demand for personalised services, such as downloading ringing tones and more sophisticated wireless Internet services, will definitely increase. The Arab Advisors Group projects Bahrain to have a GSM subscriber penetration of 77% by 2006.”

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