A new international calling card promising lower rates has been launched by cellco MTC-Vodafone Bahrain. The U-ME International card enables users to make VoIP calls to any country from fixed line or mobile phones. The card is available in denominations of BHD1 (USD2.66), BD3, and BD5.
Bahrain’s local, long-distance and international fixed line market was opened up to competition on 1 July 2004, making the island the first Gulf state to have a fully liberalised telecoms sector. State-owned Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) had its monopoly taken away and several international voice service providers – including Mena Telecom, Digi Connect, 2Connect and MTC-Vodafone – had entered the market by the end of that year, as well as several ISPs. By November 2006 there were a total of 55 telecoms licensees, including Business Communication Network (BCN), Orbit Communications (OrbitFone), Kalaam Telecom (k-talk) and Lightspeed Communications (source: TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database).