Bahrain - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

Executive summary

Market dynamics have changed Bahrain telecom’s market

The Bahrain telecoms market has become more competitive over the past few years – particularly in the mobile and broadband sectors. This, along with technology changes, has led to significant changes in the market dynamics. As a result; in April 2014 the Bahrain Telecommunications Regulatory Authority announced it was undertaking a strategic review of the telecoms market. The review aims to examine the impact of current ex-ante regulations and the regulatory conditions overall in the context of current and future market directions.

The citizens of Bahrain are enthusiastic users of smart phone applications – to the detriment of voice revenues for the operators which are in decline. Mobile broadband also accounts for the majority of broadband subscriptions in the kingdom, capturing almost 90% market share. The broadband market today is competitive – so much so that in 2014 the TRA decided to deregulate around 90% of broadband services - citing that there was no longer a single dominant broadband provider for mass-market services.

Overall; the Bahrain telecoms market is considered progressive and dynamic and has a high penetration of mobile and broadband services. It offers affordability as a result of the increased competition and LTE deployment is strongly supported by the government with LTE services already available in the kingdom. The TRA allocated further 4G spectrum licenses in late 2013 to Batelco, Zain and Viva.

A National Broadband Network (NBN) is also underway and development took a significant step forward In February 2014 with Batelco signing a memorandum of understanding with the government to build the NBN utilising Batelco’s existing fibre network in the joint project.

Key telecom parameters – 2011; 2014

Sector
2011
2014
Subscribers to telecoms services (million):
Broadband
0.56
1.8
Fixed-line telephony
0.24
0.25
Mobile phone
1.69
2.4

(Source: BuddeComm)

Note: Broadband subscribers includes both fixed and mobile broadband.

Companies covered in this report include:

Batelco, MenaTelecom, Lightspeed Communications, Kalaam Telecom, 2Connect, Noorsat, Bahrain Broadband (Greenisis), Zain Bahrain, Viva Bahrain.

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Bahrain’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, wireless);
  • Convergence and digital media;
  • Broadband subscriber forecasts to 2023;

Table of Contents

  • 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 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 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 E-government
    • 9.4 E-education
    • 9.5 Utilities
  • 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
    • 11.3 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 SMS
  • 12. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Bahrain – 2014
  • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2014
  • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2013
  • Table 4 – Broadband subscriber statistic – 2014
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2014
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – GDP growth and inflation – 2005 - 2014
  • Table 8 – Telecom sector revenue – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 9 – Telecom sector revenue breakdown – 2012
  • Table 10 – Batelco revenue and profit – Bahrain and other - 2005 – Q1 2014
  • Table 11 – Batelco revenue by division - 2005 - 2013
  • 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 – 2014
  • Table 15 – ARPU for National calls – 2006 - 2012
  • Table 16 – Historic - Internet users and penetration estimates - 1995 - 2004
  • Table 17 – Internet users and penetration estimates - 2005 - 2013
  • Table 19 – Broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2014
  • Table 20 – Fixed broadband subscriptions – 2010 - 2013
  • Table 21 – Broadband market revenue – 2009 – 2012
  • Table 13 – Broadband subscribers by access method – 2012; 2013
  • Table 22 – Broadband subscriptions by access speed – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 23 – Forecast broadband subscribers – higher market growth scenario – 2015; 2019; 2024
  • Table 24 – Forecast broadband subscribers – lower market growth scenario – 2015; 2019; 2024
  • Table 25 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
  • Table 26 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2005 - 2014
  • Table 27 – Mobile market revenue – 2007 – 2012
  • Table 28 – Mobile monthly ARPU – 2008 - 2012
  • Table 29 – Accepted mobile number portability requests – 2011 – 2012
  • Table 30 – Batelco Bahrain mobile subscribers – 2011 - 2013
  • Table 31 – Zain Bahrain – Revenue, EBITDA, CAPEX and ARPU - 2005 - 2013
  • Table 32 – Zain Bahrain – Active Subscribers – 2005 - 2013
  • Table 33 – Bahrain total prepaid mobile subscribers - 1999 - 2013
  • Table 34 – Zain Bahrain prepaid subscribers - 2004 - 2013
  • Table 35 – Zain – Total daily data volume – 2010 - 2012
  • Table 36 – Blackberry subscribers – 2009 – 2012
  • Table 37 – SMS message sent – 2008 – 2012

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