Bahrain ripe for wholesale connectivity providers

Bahrain is well placed to become a regional hub for IP traffic following the full liberalisation of the Kingdom’s telecoms sector earlier this month, according to research group, IDC CEMA.

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By  Richard Agnew Published  July 12, 2004

Bahrain is well placed to become a regional hub for IP traffic following the full liberalisation of the Kingdom’s telecoms sector earlier this month, according to research group, IDC CEMA. In a recent report, the analyst house highlights a lucrative opportunity for new entrants to provide wholesale connectivity to Middle Eastern service providers and to international destinations. Following the liberalisation, IDC predicts that the most attractive prospect for major regional and global investors is in the area of international services for enterprise customers into or out of Bahrain. Providers can create network access points (NAPs) in the Kingdom and offer a cheaper transit alternative for international traffic, mirroring the current internet exchanges in the UAE and Egypt. “The international IP transit and data transmission market in the region yields very high revenue and profits for incumbent operators, internet exchanges and carriers offering these services to regional service providers,” says Mohsen Malaki, programme manager, communications, at IDC CEMA. “Investors have so far had no real opportunity to tap into this lucrative market, as most international IP transit, even traffic destined to other countries within the region, has been contracted to internet exchanges in Europe, the US, or Asia Pacific,” he adds. As of July 1st, Bahrain’s domestic and international wireline telecoms services and infrastructure market became open for competition. Licenses on offer from the Kingdom’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) now include provision of paging, VSAT, public access mobile radio (PAMR), international facilities, international, national fixed, internet and value added services (VAS). The TRA has set no restrictions on the number of those licenses that it can issue. But mobile licenses have been limited to only two and have already been awarded to MTC-Vodafone Bahrain and the incumbent operator, Batelco.

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