Bahrain telecom revenues hit $796 million

Broadband emerges as a key driver of growth in Bahrain’s telecoms sector, according to data from the TRA

Tags: BahrainTelecommunications Regulatory Authority - Bahrain
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By  Roger Field Published  June 4, 2009

Bahrain’s telecoms sector continued to reap the benefits of liberalisation in 2008, with combined revenues from the country’s telecom operators reaching BD300 million ($796 million), representing growth of 6.3% from 2007, according to data released by the TRA this week.

Much of the growth was driven by a rapid uptake of broadband services, with subscriptions surging by 50% to reach 110,000 subscribers.

The mobile sector also experienced rapid growth in 2008, with the number of mobile subscribers reaching 1.4 million in December 2008, giving a mobile penetration rate of 131%.

Despite this level of saturation, the rate of growth in the mobile sector in 2008 exceeded that of the previous year. Indeed, in 2008 Bahrain’s mobile operators gained more than 324,000 subscribers, compared with a net increase of about 208,000 in 2007.

Bahrain’s fixed line sector, which includes a number of fixed wireless operators, also helped the country buck a regional trend of declining fixed line services.

The number of fixed lines reached more than 220,000 at the end of 2008, an increase of 8% compared with 2007, largely due to the growth of fixed wireless services.

The rise of fixed wireless operators and a liberalised VoIP policy also helped drive international traffic, with increased competition forcing the mobile operators to reduce the cost of international calls. Between 2007 and 2008, international traffic grew by 49%, with 90% of the outgoing international traffic originating on mobile phones.

Alan Horne, general director of Bahrain’s TRA said the report revealed that 2008 was “another good year” for the telecoms sector in Bahrain. “As evidenced by the growth in the number of subscribers, usage, penetrations, revenues and the number of employees, consumers in Bahrain enjoy an increasingly diversified choice of providers from which to choose their services,” he said.

Bahrain’s telecoms sector is widely viewed as one of the most competitive in the Middle East, with incumbent operator Batelco competing with mobile operator Zain, six other national fixed operators, and numerous ISPs and VoIP calling services.

STC is set to launch the country’s third mobile operation in the second half of 2009, after winning the licence in January.

2995 days ago
Ashish Saluja

See what liberalization of the Telecommunications Sector has done for BAHRAIN. "The rise of fixed wireless operators and a liberalised VoIP policy also helped drive international traffic, with increased competition forcing the mobile operators to reduce the cost of international calls. Between 2007 and 2008, international traffic grew by 49%, with 90% of the outgoing international traffic originating on mobile phones." See VoIp is not bad for the operators, atleast not for Etisalat as it will earn revenues from many diff streams coz of VoIP. Hope UAE and other GCC countries take a lead... BAHRAIN seems to be way ahead of all the others when it comes to integrating fully into the global economy and making it a GO TO PLACE in the middle east.

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