US consultant appointed for third mobile licence auction

24 Jul 2008

Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has appointed US-based Telecommunications Management Group (TMG) to design and manage the process of awarding the country’s third mobile network operating licence. At least 15 international consultancies submitted proposals. The regulator plans to issue invitation to tender for the concession in September and expects to receive applications by the end of October, with the end of December set as the deadline for announcing a winner. TRA director Alan Horne said of the process: ‘We are looking for a third mobile operator with experience of managing a significant customer base and who has established agreements with content providers and mobile partners. Such a company should be able to leverage these agreements to bring proven services into Bahrain.’ He added that a speedy launch could be accomplished with an existing local partner. Data from TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database shows that Bahrain had 1.23 million mobile subscriptions at the end of March, representing more than 1.5 active mobile SIMs per head of population; at that date the market was led by state-run Batelco with 57% of total subscribers, with Kuwaiti-owned Zain Bahrain accounting for the remainder.