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Bahrain - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts


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Bahrain a front runner with LTE

Possessing one of the smallest markets in the Middle East, Bahrain’s telecoms market is arguably one the most developed. Early to liberalise its market, it is one of the most open in the region, underpinned by a relatively well-developed regulatory environment. To further promote fair competition an active regulator has implemented a number of decisions to improve network access and interconnection to the incumbent’s network.

In contrast to other countries with high mobile penetration, the number of fixed lines in Bahrain is increasing due to infrastructure based competition by WiMAX operators, which make up approximately a quarter of total fixed lines. Like most of its counterparts in the Gulf region, incumbent operator Batelco has expanded internationally in search of new growth opportunities.

Bahrain boasts high Internet penetration levels due to strong infrastructure-based competition; ADSL was once the dominant means of broadband access prior to widespread adoption of WiMAX and mobile broadband, but now accounts for only one in five broadband subscriptions. This figure is expected to fall further as mobile broadband penetration continues to grow.

Three network operators compete in the mobile market, which is made up predominantly of prepaid users. Subscriber numbers continue to show strong growth despite a highly-penetrated market, indicating multiple SIM card ownership. Bahrain was one of the first to introduce LTE in the Middle East, with all three operators utilising HSPA+ or LTE networks to underpin future revenue growth through take up of mobile, content and application services.

Key telecom parameters – 2010; 2012
Sector | 2010 | 2012
Subscribers to telecoms services (million):
Broadband | 0.20 | 0.36
Fixed-line telephony | 0.23 | 0.26
Mobile phone | 1.57 | 1.80
(Source: BuddeComm)

Companies covered in this report include:

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

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Jordan’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the mobile, Internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media sectors.

Subjects include:

Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
Facts, figures and statistics;
Industry and regulatory issues;
Infrastructure;
Major players, revenues, subscribers, ARPU
Internet, IPTV;
Mobile voice and data markets;
Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless);
Convergence and digital media;
Broadband subscriber forecasts to 2020;


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 Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) licences
4.3.3 Second National Telecommunications Plan and planned measures
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 Mena Telecom
5.3.2 Lightspeed Communications
5.3.3 Kalaam Telecom
5.3.4 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 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)
8.6 Wireless broadband
8.6.1 WiMAX
8.6.2 WiFi
8.6.3 iBurst
9. Digital economy / digital media
9.1 Services
9.1.1 E-government
10. Digital broadcasting
10.1 Satellite TV
10.2 Broadband TV (IPTV)
10.3 Web TV
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
11.2.5 Additional Spectrum
11.3 Mobile technologies
11.3.1 Analogue
11.3.2 Digital
11.3.3 Third Generation (3G)
11.3.4 Long-term evolution (LTE)
11.4 Major mobile operators
11.4.1 Batelco
11.4.2 Zain Bahrain (formerly MTC Vodafone)
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 content
11.7.1 Batelco
11.7.2 Zain Bahrain
11.7.3 Viva Bahrain
12. Related reports
Table 1 – Country statistics Bahrain – 2012
Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2012
Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2012
Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2012
Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2012
Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
Table 7 – GDP growth and inflation – 2005 - 2012
Table 8 – Batelco revenue and profit – Bahrain and other - 2005 - 2012
Table 9 – Batelco revenue by division - 2005 - 2012
Table 10 – Batelco total group mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2012
Table 11 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 – 2012
Table 12 – Internet users and penetration estimates - 1995 - 2012
Table 13 – Internet subscribers - 2000 - 2012
Table 14 – Broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2011
Table 15 – Broadband subscribers by access method – 2004 - 2011
Table 16 – Market share of Internet and broadband by access method – 2004 - 2011
Table 17 – Broadband subscribers by access speed – 2007 – 2010
Table 18 – Broadband monthly ARPU – 2007 - 2010
Table 19 – Forecast broadband subscribers – higher market growth scenario – 2012; 2015; 2020
Table 20 – Forecast broadband subscribers – lower market growth scenario – 2012; 2015; 2020
Table 21 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2012
Table 22 – Zain Bahrain – Revenue, EBITDA, CAPEX and ARPU - 2005 – 2012
Table 23 – Zain Bahrain – Active Subscribers – 2005 - 2012
Table 24 – Prepaid mobile subscribers - 1999 - 2011
Table 25 – Zain Bahrain prepaid subscribers - 2004 - 2012
Chart 1 – Bahrain fixed-line and mobile subscribers – 2002 – 2012
Chart 2 – Chart of Internet Subscribers and Users in Bahrain – 2002 - 2012

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