MTC-Vodafone, Mena win Bahrain wireless licences

Batelco welcomes competition in fixed wireless market

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By  Published  December 23, 2006

MTC-Vodafone Bahrain and Mena Telecom have won the li-cences for Bahrain’s national fixed wireless services after out-bidding four other contenders. The telco operators put up bids of US$14.6million and US$12million respectively. The other shortlisted contenders were ATC Clearwire Telecom Limited, Bahrain Tele-communications Company BSC, Etisalcom Wireless Co, and Reliance Communications. All of these companies had qualified at the first stage of bidding for the licences. Leading Bahraini telco operator Batelco said in a statement that it welcomed the competition to the market. “For Batelco, it is business as usual. We remain focused on our goal to maintain our position as a leading integrated communications company in the region offering multiple services to our customers,” stated Peter Kaliaropoulos, chief executive of Batelco. “Batelco will offer its customers affordable fixed and wi- reless broadband access without the need to utilise WiMax technology,” he added. Batelco announced in November its intention to bid for one of the two national fixed wireless service licences. It was not, however, included in the list of qualified bidders announced by the regulatory authority. Batelco, the leading fixed-line service provider and mobile operator in Bahrain, said it planned to deliver data services at speeds up to 10Mbps using ADSL technology. Other bidders for the licences were The Blue Zone East, Kalaam Telecom Bahrain BSC, and Nuetel Communications SPC, all of which were eliminated at the qualification stage. Fledging Kalaam Telecom is, however, already on its way to offering fixed wireless services in Bahrain. The company is in the process of rolling fixed wireless out. It claimed it would be the first company in the country to provide such a service. Its fixed wireless services sh-ould be available commercially by late January, according to a representative of the company. The national fixed wireless licences pave the way for fixed wireless connectivity for customers for voice and data services. The licences entitle the winners to offer local voice telephony, and subject to obtaining the additional relevant licences, they will also be able to provide internet services and international calls. The new licences are due to be awarded on 8 January.

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