Shortlist published for new mobile licensee

31 Mar 2003

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in Bahrain has announced a shortlist of candidates for the country’s second cellular licence. Ten groups submitted bids by the 5 March deadline, of which the TRA has selected three – Kalaam Ltd, MTC-Vodafone of Kuwait and Wataniya Telecom – to proceed to the next stage of the contest. The TRA will now seek to obtain performance undertakings from the shortlisted companies to ensure that they will commit to significant levels of investment, serve both business and consumer customers and create direct employment for Bahrainis. The final selection process could take a number of weeks but the licence is expected to be awarded by 22 April in order to comply with the Telecommunications Law. According to local sources, the high level of interest shown in the concession is a reflection of the fact that Bahrain has adopted an enlightened approach to the liberalisation of its telecoms markets. The country does not charge exorbitant fees for licences as these charges are simply passed on the consumer. Instead it has chosen to evaluate hopeful market entrants based on the benefits they can bring to the country and the telecoms sector.