Bahrain’s telecom regulator “steps down”
Alan Horne to leave general director role by end of month
The combative head of Bahrain's telecom regulator, Alan Horne, has "stepped down" from his role and will leave the organisation by the end of the month.
Horne took on the role of general director of Bahrain's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in November 2006, taking over from the first general director.
"I set out to build competency into the team to ensure that the Kingdom of Bahrain developed into one of the best and most qualified telecommunications regulators in the Middle East," Horne said. "By the end of this year TRA will have achieved this key objective."
Horne said that Bahrain's TRA was acknowledged by those in the telecom sector in the Middle East as "the most transparent regulator in the region". But in the process of liberalising the sector the regulator has had a number of high profile spats with incumbent operator Batelco.
In September, Batelco accused the TRA of making "baseless" allegations after the regulator issued it with its biggest ever fine for allegedly preventing other operators from accessing the country's international cables.
And Batleco has also vigorously opposed the TRA's moves to introduce local loop unbundling, which would end the operator's dominance of the fixed line market.
"The role of the regulator is not an easy one and has to tread a fine line balancing the demands from consumers, incumbent and new operators, as well as meeting government policy objectives," Horne said.
"Our approach in liberalising the market to provide real choice for consumers and to enforce the rights and obligations of all licensees is now starting to bear fruit. This would not have been possible without the full support of my chairman, Dr Mohammed Al Amer and the board members, for which I am grateful," added Horne.
Dr Mohamed Al Amer, TRA chairman, said: "Alan has done a wonderful job in building the competency of the TRA and in supporting the significant growth in the telecommunications sector...Bahrain now enjoys greater choice of service providers and services, consumers are receiving better value for money, and TRA Bahrain is seen as the leading regulatory authority within the region."
The TRA said it is in the final stages of selecting a new general director and that an announcement will be made in the coming weeks.