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Bahrain (country regulation overview)

Abstract

Bahrain is among the most liberalized telecoms markets in the Middle East. The regulator, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), is encouraging further competition through new licenses as well as wholesale and retail regulations.

With the entry of the third mobile operator in March 2010, competition is expected to intensify, putting pressure on tariffs; this is likely to make mobile services more affordable for end users. In addition, the implementation of mobile number portability (MNP) is expected to drive tariffs lowers as players compete to gain customers from competitors in this highly penetrated market (118% mobile penetration as of June 2009).

The fixed-line services market is also expected to gain from the implementation of the second phase of number portability (by September 2010). Furthermore, alternative telecoms service providers are likely to benefit from the new local loop unbundling regulation, which enables them to offer services at competitive prices over incumbent Batelco’s infrastructure.

Table of Contents

Overview
Ovum view
Fixed market overview
Internet market
VoIP
Multiplay: dual, triple, and quad players
Mobile market overview
National regulatory authority
Competition authority
Key legislation and regulation
Acts
Orders
Current status of market analysis
Mobile licensing
3G licenses
WiMAX
MVNOs
Retail regulation
The retail market
Retail tariff regulation
Number portability
Quality of service
Wholesale fixed regulation
Narrowband voice interconnection
Services subject to regulation
Cost model for the reference interconnection offer (RIO)
Narrowband flat-rate interconnection
Flat-rate Internet access call origination
Wholesale access
Wholesale broadband access
Local loop unbundling
Wholesale line rental
Transition to all-IP networks
Wholesale broadband services
Interconnection at international cable landing points
Leasing of dark fiber
Wholesale mobile regulation
Mobile operator obligations
National roaming
Mobile termination charges
Mobile number portability
Competition cases
TRA fines Batelco for failing to meet its obligations to other licensed operators
Universal service
Universal service obligation
Appendix
Relevant markets as defined by the TRA




List of Tables
Table 1: Market share in the Bahraini mobile market and cost of UMTS licenses
Table 2: Fixed sector: services subject to regulation
Table 3: Mobile sector: services subject to regulation in Bahrain
Table 4: Relevant markets in Bahrain






List of Figures
Figure 1: Fixed-line subscribers in Bahrain
Figure 2: Dial-up and broadband subscribers in Bahrain
Figure 3: Mobile subscribers in Bahrain


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