TRA consults on third mobile licence

22 May 2008

Bahraini telecoms regulator the TRA has invited foreign consultancies to submit proposals for managing the selection of a third mobile network operator in the country. Since inviting expressions of interest in a third cellular licence in April, the watchdog has reported that six potential applicants have made informal approaches, although it has not named the companies. It plans to launch a formal tender for the concession by mid-August this year, with submissions closed by the end of October, and is targeting early December as the date for announcing the winner. Alan Horne, general director of the TRA, said: ‘We are aiming to design a simple, transparent and competitive award process in order to select a winner capable of offering innovative and affordable mobile services that will strengthen the competition in Bahrain. We are not aiming to generate high revenue through this process, as we strongly believe that a too high cost of entry would eventually be transferred to consumers.’ According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, state-run Batelco had nearly 670,000 mobile subscribers in Bahrain at the end of 2007, giving it a 59.9% market share, ahead of rival Zain Bahrain, which had 448,000 customers at the same date (rising to 529,000 at end-March 2008).