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STC only bidder for Bahrain mobile licence

Four registered bidders reduced to one as deadline passes

Only one operator has submitted a bid for the third mobile licence in Bahrain, according to a statement by the country’s telecoms regulator.

Out of four companies that initially registered an interest in acquiring the country’s third mobile licence, Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) was the only company to submit a bid.

The three unnamed registered bidders who failed to submit final bids may have been deterred by the high mobile penetration rate in Bahrain, which is estimated to be well in excess of 100%. If STC is successful in its application it will compete with incumbent Batelco and Zain Bahrain.

A statement on the TRA’s website said that a “dedicated evaluation team” had already started evaluating the technical and commercial aspects of the bid, following the deadline which passed on Sunday.

In an interview with CommsMEA magazine, TRA general director Alan Horne said that the TRA was keen to attract interest from established operators with experience of “experience of being in a start-up situation”.

Horne added: “In designing the auction process, TRA adopted international best practice in order to award the licence to a strong player who can provide innovative mobile services, compete with the current providers and maximize the benefits to consumers in Bahrain”.
The TRA plans to open the financial bid on 22nd January.