Kingdom to crown third mobile licensee?

5 Oct 2007

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said that the results of its mobile market review would be published by the end of the year, covering issues including the award of a third mobile licence. Domestic fixed wireless licence holder Mena Telecom, which is currently deploying a WiMAX network, last week announced its intention to apply for a mobile concession, while several international telecoms groups are also reportedly seeking entry to the Kingdom’s saturated but lucrative cellular market, which is currently a duopoly of fixed line incumbent Batelco and Zain Bahrain (formerly MTC–Vodafone Baharin). According to the Bahrain Tribune, a recent survey by the TRA found that 62% of residential and 90% of business users were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the overall quality of mobile services, but only 22% of all subscribers surveyed expressed satisfaction with mobile service prices. According to the regulator, ‘Basic underlying call charges from both mobile operators have changed very little since 2004. Despite each mobile operator having a significant market share, competition in the form of permanently lower prices has not eventuated.’

Bahrain, Mena Telecom (Menatelecom)