Batelco announces regional investments; warns of over-regulation

25 Jul 2007

Bahrain’s incumbent fixed line operator Batelco has announced plans to invest a total of BHD30 million (USD80 million) this year in its domestic network infrastructure, including BHD16 million to expand its mobile network to serve 700,000 customers. The company, which has invested more than BHD528 million (USD1.4 billion) in Bahrain’s telecoms infrastructure over 26 years, also announced that 3.5G HSDPA mobile services would be launched commercially by the end of the year. However, CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos struck a note of warning by saying that if regulator the TRA continues to limit commercial returns for new infrastructure investments then the telco would have to be more selective on projects in the future. Batelco invested BHD40 million in the expansion of fixed and mobile services in Bahrain last year, and finished June 2007 with 201,000 fixed line customers and 643,000 mobile subscribers. The company is awaiting the ratification of its recently won fixed line operating licence in Saudi Arabia from the country’s Council of Ministers, and announced that it will initially invest around BHD15 million in the country, with USD500 million earmarked over five years. Batelco is also shortlisted for the second mobile licence in Qatar, with plans to invest BHD75 million if it wins.

Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco)