Bahrain - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
Bahrain demonstrates progress towards 5G readiness
Bahrain's telecommunications industry is guided by its Fourth National Telecommunications Plan which focuses on fibre-optic infrastructure deployment and establishing affordable prices for high-speed access. It also includes high level strategies for 5G readiness and in 2018 this planning process took a step further with the establishment of a 5G working group, chaired by the telecommunications regulator.
Mobile penetration is high by regional standards although it did decline sharply in 2017 due to the SIM biometric registration that was introduced - along with the withdrawal of many of the unlimited packages offered by the operators.
Mobile data is growing faster than voice in Bahrain and it has well developed LTE networks, which also lay the foundation for future 5G deployment. In 2017 the first 5G trial for Bahrain was conducted.
Bahrain has deployed its own National Broadband Network (NBN) and in 2018 the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) was developing a regulatory framework for the delivery of ubiquitous ultrafast broadband infrastructure.
Overall, Bahrain is demonstrating a high-level of telecoms maturity for the Middle East region. It offers a competitive environment which is well regulated and incorporates significant LTE infrastructure as well as a National Broadband Network.
Batelco announced the launch of the Batelco Gulf Network (BGN) in 2018. In 2018 VIVA Bahrain acquired MENA Telecom. In mid-2017 biometric SIM registration was introduced in Bahrain and a decline in mobile subscribers subsequently followed. The first successful trial of 5G has been conducted in Bahrain and in 2018 a 5G Working Group was established. Pre-paid mobile is beginning to decline as operators encourage consumers to use the more lucrative post-paid mobile subscriptions.