Mobile auction delayed; newspaper points to Batelco ownership negotiations

5 Nov 2008

Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has extended the deadline for applications for the Kingdom’s third mobile network operating licence from 13 November to 30 November, after receiving requests from the ‘majority of registered parties.’ Local newspaper al-Watan speculated yesterday that a new licence was unlikely to be awarded ahead of a decision on the possible sale of a controlling stake in Batelco, which competes with Zain Bahrain in the mobile market, to Saudi Telecom Company (STC). Batelco has refused to confirm reports that STC is in talks with the Bahraini government to buy a majority stake in the incumbent.