Batelco fined $265,000 for failing to provide services

Telecommunications Regulatory Authority fines Bahrain's incumbent telecoms operator over failure to share network

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By  Quintin Smith Published  March 31, 2008

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has issued Batelco a fine of BD100,000 ($265,000) because of the company’s delay in providing agreed upon wholesale leased line services to 2Connect.

The services would allow 2Connect to offer internet and phone services to homes and offices within the country, services which would put the company in further competition with Batelco.

But as the country’s incumbent telecom company Batelco is legally required to share its extensive network infrastructure with other licensed operators.

The TRA called the leased line delays a disruption of potential commercial business relationships. TRA General Director Alan Horne said: "Batelco must change its approach in meeting its legal obligations and wholeheartedly treat their wholesale customers in exactly the same manner they treat their retail customers."

Batelco, however, called the ruling unfair and discriminatory, stating that the company isn’t obliged to fulfill leased line services when the required network capacity is unavailable.

Peter Kaliaropoulos, Batelco’s Chief Executive, explained: “Batelco has invested $52 million in its new NGN (Next Generation Network) to deliver countrywide MPLS services in the Kingdom of Bahrain and believes that investment in its legacy network, which will no longer be required once the NGN is complete, is not a financially sound or viable option.

"In view of this fact we explained to the TRA that Batelco could meet the full requirements of new services from operators at that time in three locations in the Kingdom. We also requested permission to enter into a commercial deal with the operator to resolve the problem in the interim and understood that the TRA had no issue with this."

Batelco and the TRA crossed swords earlier this month, in a row over advertising and TRA approval of new services.

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