Bahrain will have a third mobile phone operator by the end of next year, it was revealed yesterday by Alan Horne, the director of the country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). Horne announced that a new licence would be granted by the end of this year and a new operator will launch within twelve months of winning a concession. The move is part of a wider strategy to increase competition and further liberalise the telecoms market. Number portability will be introduced early in 2009 under the TRA’s Strategic and Retail Market Review published earlier this month. The regulator also plans to force incumbent fixed line operator Batelco to unbundle its local loop network. ‘The market is growing,’ Horne said, adding that ‘revenues grew by 13% last year…but competition is not developing as expected…Underlying prices have not fallen in the mobile market. Price controls are cumbersome and greater flexibility is required but with safeguards.’ The TRA’s proposed measures will assist in improving value for money, choice, quality of services, functionality and availability, he claimed.