Bahrain reviews number portability

20 Aug 2007

Bahrain’s telecoms watchdog said on Sunday it was considering introducing mobile number portability (MNP), to raise pressure on state-run former monopoly telco Batelco to cut prices and improve service. Restrictions on number portability have prevented people from switching their phone service even if they are dissatisfied with prices or service, director of the Bahrain Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA) Alan Horne said. ‘A high percentage of consumers would like to change their operator, but they’re not prepared to do that unless they can keep their number,’ he added. ‘One of the actions we’re proposing is to allow the consumer to do that,’ he told reporters. Batelco’s only significant domestic competition is cellco MTC-Vodafone Bahrain. A TRA survey of telecom usage in Bahrain found there were still opportunities for growth, Horne said. 44% of residential users were dissatisfied with their international call service mainly because they thought prices were too high. The TRA has exerted increasing pressure on Batelco to cut prices, including wholesale rates. Batelco has criticised the regulator for introducing what it said were discriminatory pricing policies. The regulator would make recommendations on number portability in a review to be published by the end of this month, Horne said.