Batelco 1Q06 profits reach US$62 million
Bahrain's national operator has posted a 3.5% rise in first quarter profits with its CEO putting the company's mobile subscriber base at 580,000.
Bahraini incumbent operator Batelco has announced 1Q06 net profits of US$62.35 million, up 3.5% on last year’s first quarter figures.
Peter Kaliaropoulos, Batelco’s CEO, says that during the first quarter the operator continued to focus on its mobile and broadband businesses. “Batelco has grown its mobile customer base to 580,000, which represents a 75% market share.” Batelco counted 560,000 mobile subscribers at the end of October 2005. The kingdom’s second mobile licence holder, MTC Vodafone Bahrain, had 190,000, and together the mobile penetration rate represented 107%, one of the highest in the region.
With regards to broadband connections, Kaliaropoulos claims that broadband and data services grew at double digits rates year on year, adding that the entry-level broadband business package price was cut by 50%. “Subject to regulatory approvals, Batelco will introduce a revised pricing structure for broadband and date services in the near future.”
According to Batelco chairman Hassan Ali Juma, the operator is having to adapt its offerings to customers, as well as improve service and value, in order to face competition. “Competition in Bahrain’s telecommunications market has intensified and our business is undergoing transformation as the country’s residents are offered additional mobile, fixed telephony and internet alternatives.”
However, Juma does not criticise the advent of competition in the kingdom. “Competition is beneficial as it breeds a dynamic environment where customers reap the rewards and Bahrain becomes a more competitive destination for business clients to relocate their regional support centres.”
Juma also says that Batelco is considering various acquisitions in the Middle East and North Africa. Batelco bid for the 35% stake in Tunisie Telecom, which was won by the UAE’s TECOM, and is likely to be among those bidding for Egypt’s third mobile licence later this year.