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Bahrain - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband


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Bahrain - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

ICT infrastructure improves for highly connected BahrainBahrain has often been recognised as being a highly connected country with both very high internet penetration and mobile penetration rates. This will be further enhanced by a number of recent initiatives to improve ICT infrastructure with both LTE 4G and national broadband networks becoming available.

The launch of 4G LTE services has ensured that both broadband and mobile subscriber rates are continuing to grow. A decline in prices in recent years for both residential broadband and mobile broadband has also assisted in this increased uptake of such services. Infrastructure-based competition has been essential to growth; ADSL was once the dominant means of broadband access prior to widespread adoption of WiMAX and mobile broadband, which combined represent over 90% of total broadband subscriptions.

Bahrain has always been at the forefront of Internet penetration in the region but since the introduction of greater competition, and the consequent fall in prices, broadband subscriber numbers have grown rapidly.

The TRA is overseeing the build-out of a national broadband fibre-optic network which it hopes that 80% of the population will have access to by 2018. The network would offer speeds of 300 mb/s and the government will be particularly encouraging small-to-medium enterprises to take up the improved services. The Telecommunications Authority acknowledges that the NBN is essential for Bahrain's telecoms infrastructure growth.

The TRA is also exploring the impact, including any regulatory issues, surrounding developing Interconnect based on IPX and plans to strengthen Bahrain's IP infrastructure going forward. In 2014 BT announced it had formed a partnership with Viva Bahrain to build a Global IP Exchange (GIPX) interoperability hub in Bahrain, with Viva supplying the route as well as hosting and connectivity.

In 2015 the Bahrain telecoms market has established a reputation as having one of the strongest ICT markets in the Middle East, backed by strong support from the government and an enthusiastic population- ready to embrace the technology developments of the future. This foundation is allowing Bahrain to take steps towards the next generation by exploring and implementing solutions surrounding cloud technology, Big Data Management and M2M.

Key telecom parameters 2011; 2015
Sector | 2011 | 2015
Subscribers to telecoms services (million):
Broadband | 0.56 | 1.9
Fixed-line telephony | 0.24 | 0.24
Mobile phone | 1.69 | 2.6
(Source: BuddeComm)
Note: Broadband subscribers include both fixed and mobile broadband.

Companies covered in this report include:

Batelco, MenaTelecom, Lightspeed Communications, Kalaam Telecom, 2Connect, Noorsat, Zain Bahrain, Viva Bahrain.


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Overview of Bahrain's telecom market
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Background
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation in Bahrain
4.3.1 First National Telecommunications Plan
4.3.2 Second National Telecommunications Plan and planned measures
4.3.3 Third National Telecommunications Plan
4.3.4 Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) licences
4.4 Interconnect
4.5 Access
4.6 Number portability
4.7 Privatisation
5. Fixed network operators in Bahrain
5.1 Overview
5.2 Bahrain telecommunications company (Batelco)
5.3 Alternative operators
5.3.1 MenaTelecom
5.3.2 Kalaam Telecom
5.3.3 2Connect
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.2 International infrastructure
6.2.1 Submarine cable networks
6.2.2 Satellite networks
6.2.3 Noorsat
7. Wholesaling
7.1 Overview
7.2 Unbundled services (LLU)
8. Broadband access market
8.1 Overview
8.2 Broadband and Internet statistics
8.3 Broadband subscriber forecasts
8.3.1 Scenario 1 higher growth
8.3.2 Scenario 2 lower growth
8.4 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
8.5 Fibre to the Home (FttH)
8.5.1 National Broadband Network (NBN)
8.6 Wireless broadband
8.6.1 WiMAX
8.6.2 WiFi
8.6.3 iBurst
9. Digital economy / digital media
9.1 Overview
9.2 Social media
9.3 Big Data
9.4 E-government
9.5 E-education
9.6 Utilities
9.7 Sharing economy
10. Digital broadcasting
10.1 Satellite TV
10.2 Broadband TV (IPTV)
10.3 Web TV/Video streaming
11. Mobile communications
11.1 Overview of Bahrain's mobile market
11.1.1 Mobile statistics
11.2 Regulatory issues
11.2.1 Second mobile licence
11.2.2 Third mobile licence
11.2.3 Prepaid subscriber registration
11.2.4 Roaming tariff reduction
11.3 Mobile technologies
11.3.1 Analogue
11.3.2 Digital
11.3.3 Third Generation (3G)
11.3.4 4G/Long-term evolution (LTE)
11.4 Major mobile operators
11.4.1 Batelco
11.4.2 Zain Bahrain
11.4.3 Viva Bahrain / STC Bahrain
11.5 Mobile voice services
11.5.1 Prepaid
11.5.2 Credit transfer service
11.6 Mobile broadband (access)
11.7 Mobile SMS
11.7.1 Mobile messaging apps
12. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Bahrain 2015
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2015
Table 3 Internet user statistics 2015
Table 4 Broadband subscriber statistic 2015
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2015
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 GDP growth and inflation 2005 - 2015
Table 8 Telecom sector revenue 2006 - 2013
Table 9 Telecom sector revenue breakdown 2012; 2013
Table 10 Batelco revenue and profit Bahrain and other - 2005 Q1 2015
Table 11 Batelco revenue by division - 2005 Q1 2015
Table 12 Batelco total group mobile subscribers 2005 - 2013
Table 13 Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 2004
Table 14 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2005 2015
Table 15 ARPU for National calls 2006 - 2013
Table 16 Historic - Internet users and penetration estimates - 1995 - 2004
Table 17 Internet users and penetration estimates - 2005 - 2015
Table 18 Broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2015
Table 23 Forecast broadband subscribers higher market growth scenario 2016; 2019; 2024
Table 24 Forecast broadband subscribers lower market growth scenario 2016; 2019; 2024
Table 18 Bahrain IPTV subscribers Q1 2013; Q1 2014; Q1 2015
Table 25 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
Table 26 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2005 - 2015
Table 27 Mobile market revenue 2007 - 2013
Table 28 Mobile monthly ARPU 2008 - 2013
Table 29 Accepted mobile number portability requests 2011 - 2014
Table 30 Batelco Bahrain subscribers 2011 - 2014
Table 31 Zain Bahrain revenue, EBITDA, CAPEX and ARPU - 2005 - 2014
Table 32 Zain Bahrain mobile subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 33 Bahrain total prepaid mobile subscribers - 1999 - 2014
Table 34 Zain Bahrain prepaid subscribers - 2004 - 2014
Table 35 Mobile broadband subscribers 2012 - 2015
Table 36 SMS message sent 2008 - 2013
Exhibit 1 Bahrain National fixed voice services operators

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