Regulator approves two licence bids

18 Mar 2004

Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) yesterday approved the award of two new communications licences – one to the Bahrain Internet Exchange to ease online traffic congestion, and one to Bahrain Car Racing Circuit to offer VSAT services – as part of its drive to liberalise the sector and attract inward investment. The TRA’s general director Andreas Avgousti said that by 1 July this year ‘the market will be fully free and open to everyone to invest in and fully own a business’. The regulator was established in 2001-02 to oversee the opening up of the market and to promote Bahrain as a hub for telecoms services in the Gulf. The market is currently dominated by Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco), although in 2003 the TRA granted MTC Vodafone Bahrain a licence to set up a second mobile service, ending Batelco’s monopoly.