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Bahrain telecom sector has a strong 2010

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) released its annual report that showed the telecom industry in Bahrain as a whole saw revenues increase by 6.5 per cent.

The number of mobile subscribers increased by 11 per cent to hit 1.6 million mobile subscribers at end of 2010.

TRA chairman, Dr Mohammed Ahmed Al Amer, said mobile penetration also increased from 45 per cent in 2002 to 127 per cent last year. Nearly 80 per cent of these were using pre-paid services, the report added, resulting in an increase in subscribers in 2009 to 1,401,974 from 300,829 in 2002.

Broadband subscribers increased by 27 per cent to 200,000 subscribers last year with the falling broadband services costs contributing to the positive growth.

Dr Al Amer said, ?'the continued positive growth trends were supported by decreasing prices for broadband services accompanied by the launch of the third mobile operator and the introduction of faster broadband."

He added that there is increasing maturity in the competitive nature of certain markets such as mobile retail services and calls to certain international destinations has required the TRA to use the competition-based provisions of the Telecommunications Law for the first time during 2010 and to introduce new regulatory measures.

'In February, we were able to introduce a framework based on a competition test for regulating retail tariffs and then in June, it was necessary to take swift and firm action to stop potentially unfair competition from damaging the international calling market and launch an investigation into potentially unfair competition.'

Dr Al Amer believes that the future is bright for international and broadband services.

?Resolving the issues around access to the FLAG subsea cable landing station and the prospect of at least a further two international cables linking Bahrain by the end of 2011, in addition to the three already in place and our satellite stations, should provide significant opportunities for further broadband price reductions and speed increases.?