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Niche data provider wins Bahrain licence

Bahrain Broadband to start operations in fourth quarter after winning bid for guard band frequency

Bahrain Broadband is set to become the latest entrant into Bahrain’s data communications sector, after winning a licence to operate niche wireless data services on the GSM 1800 guard band frequency.

Bahrain Broadband, which paid BD50,000 ($132,000) for the licence after being selected by Bahrain’s telecom regulator, intends to invest about BD2.4 million ($6.36 million) in the first phase of its roll out. The company plans to start services in Manama by the fourth quarter of the year, according to the company’s CEO, Shawqi Al-Mahmood.

Bahrain Broadband will provide a range of niche services, such as wireless border control and monitoring, wireless traffic control and monitoring and “other applications that were impossible to realise with previous technologies,” Al-Mahmood told CommsMEA.

He added that the company’s main focus will initially be on serving operators. “The special characteristics of our solutions enable us to provide operators with very solid, ubiquitous and low-cost wireless access,” he said.

The GSM 1800 guard band frequency is a narrow five megahertz spectrum that sits between the frequencies used by Bahrain’s mobile operators Zain and Batelco. Bahrain Broadband will use an “intelligent aerial” technology called i-Burst to gain greater efficiency and performance from the spectrum.

Alan Horne, general director, TRA Bahrain said the use of the GSM Guard Band frequency will allow Bahrain Broadband to provide services ideal for “closed user groups” including companies and government bodies.

Horne added that the technology being deployed by Bahrain Broadband is particularly useful for users that need reliable data while on the move, such as the police. It also offers greater security than other means of data transfer, making it useful for organisations that handle sensitive data.

“This particularly technology and operation is complementary to the existing services offered by the WiMAX and GSM solutions offered by Zain and Batelco. It is a complementary technology, it is very efficient. It will be the first service of its kind in the GCC region, they [Bahrain Broadband] want to make this a showcase for the region.”