Government outlines gradual liberalisation strategy

12 Jan 2004

Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has outlined its plans to complete the deregulation of the country’s telecoms markets by the end of 2004. A spokesman for the authority said licences to provide paging, public access mobile radio services (PAMR) and VSAT services have already been made available, with an international facilities-based telecoms concession to follow before the end of March. From 1 July the TRA will begin accepting bids for new fixed line licences to compete with incumbent Batelco. The only area of Bahrain’s telecoms market which will remain unchanged is the mobile communications sector, where Batelco faces competition from MTC-Vodafone. Bahrain is keen to liberalise its telecoms markets in a bid to attract much-needed foreign capital; last week the TRA said it had been approached by a number of local, regional and international firms interested in investing in the country, though stopped short of naming any names.