Bahrain - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Telecommunications revenues rising in the Kingdom of Bahrain

There are many positive developments occurring in the liberalised telecoms market of Bahrain. Telecommunications industry revenues are rising, mobile penetration is very high and mobile data is growing faster than voice. There are now well over 2.8 million mobile subscriptions in the Kingdom and penetration sits at over 200%.

Consumers are reaping the benefit of competition which has led to a decline in prices for services. Roaming costs have also dropped and will continue to do so for the next few years. The unlicensed mobile sector, led by handset devices, resulted in a revenue growth of 88% between 2014 and 2015.

With mobile subscribers accounting for the majority of broadband subscriptions in Bahrain, the operators are focusing heavily on improving mobile infrastructure. LTE networks are well established and the operators are now looking towards new services like VoLTE, LTE-A, M2M and the potential of 5G in the future.

Bahrain’s Fourth National Telecommunications Plan was prepared by the end of 2015 and given approval by the Ministry in May 2016. It will focus on fibre-optic infrastructure and affordable prices for high-speed access. It also includes 5G development and readiness. In 2017 progress continues on the build-out of Bahrain’s NBN, which is being overseen by the TRA.

Key developments:

  • 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.
  • Around 79% of mobile subscriptions are prepaid in Bahrain.
  • In 2017 the first successful trial of 5G was conducted in Bahrain.
  • The Fourth National Telecommunications Plan was approved in May 2016.
  • Batelco and Ericsson formed a partnership in 2017 which will see them undergo network upgrades to provide LTE-A services as well as expand VoLTE services. It is hoped the infrastructure will also provide the framework for 5G in the future.
  • Zain Bahrain has seen increases in its data revenues during both 2015 and 2016 and data now accounts for around 41% of total revenues.
  • Consumers in Bahrain and other Gulf countries are beginning to enjoy price reductions on roaming rates.

Companies covered in this report include:

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

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
    • 2.1 Country overview
  • 3. Telecommunications market
    • 3.1 Historical overview
    • 3.2 Telecommunications market
      • 3.2.1 Market analysis
    • 3.3 Recent developments
  • 4. Regulatory environment
    • 4.1 Regulatory authority
    • 4.2 Overview
    • 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 Fourth National Telecommunications Plan
      • 4.3.5 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)
      • 5.2.1 Historical overview
      • 5.2.2 Recent developments
    • 5.3 Alternative operators
      • 5.3.1 MenaTelecom
      • 5.3.2 Kalaam Telecom
      • 5.3.3 2Connect (revoked)
  • 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. Smart infrastructure
    • 7.1 M2M/IoT/Big Data
    • 7.2 Smart energy
  • 8. Wholesaling
    • 8.1 Overview
  • 9. Broadband access market
    • 9.1 Market analysis
    • 9.2 Broadband statistics
    • 9.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
      • 9.3.1 Historical overview
      • 9.3.2 Recent developments
      • 9.3.3 National Broadband Network (NBN)
    • 9.4 Other fixed broadband services
      • 9.4.1 Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
      • 9.4.2 iBurst
  • 10. Digital economy
    • 10.1 Introduction
    • 10.2 e-Commerce
      • 10.2.1 Sharing economy
    • 10.3 e-Banking
    • 10.4 e-Government
    • 10.5 e-Health
    • 10.6 e-Education
  • 11. Digital media
    • 11.1 Introduction
    • 11.2 Videostreaming
      • 11.2.1 Introduction
      • 11.2.2 Video-based services
      • 11.2.3 Broadband TV (IPTV)
    • 11.3 Social media
    • 11.4 VoIP
    • 11.5 Music
    • 11.6 On line gaming and gambling
  • 12. Mobile communications
    • 12.1 Market analysis
    • 12.2 Mobile statistics
      • 12.2.1 General statistics
    • 12.3 Mobile voice
      • 12.3.1 Prepaid
      • 12.3.2 Mobile data
    • 12.4 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 12.5 Regulatory issues
      • 12.5.1 Second mobile licence
      • 12.5.2 Third mobile licence
      • 12.5.3 Prepaid subscriber registration
      • 12.5.4 Roaming tariff reduction
      • 12.5.5 MNP
    • 12.6 Mobile infrastructure
      • 12.6.1 Brief intro analogue networks
      • 12.6.2 Digital networks
      • 12.6.3 5G
    • 12.7 Major mobile operators
      • 12.7.1 Batelco
      • 12.7.2 Zain Bahrain
      • 12.7.3 Viva Bahrain / STC Bahrain
    • 12.8 Mobile content and applications
      • 12.8.1 m-commerce
      • 12.8.2 m-banking (payments/loans)
      • 12.8.3 m-TV
    • 12.9 Mobile handsets
  • 13. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics – Bahrain
  • Table 2 – Telecom revenue statistic – 2015
  • Table 3 – Telephone network statistics – 2017
  • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2017
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2017
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
  • Table 7 – GDP real growth rate and inflation – 2005 - 2016
  • Table 8 – Telecom sector revenue – 2006 - 2015
  • Table 9 – Telecom sector revenue breakdown – 2012 - 2014
  • Table 10 – Batelco revenue and profit – 2005 – Q1 2017
  • Table 11 – Batelco revenue by division - 2005 – 2015
  • Table 12 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 – 2004
  • Table 13 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 – 2017
  • Table 14 – ARPU for National calls – 2010 - 2014
  • Table 15 – Internet users and penetration estimates - 2011 - 2017
  • Table 16 – Fixed and mobile broadband subscribers - 2012 - 2017
  • Table 17 – Broadband sector revenue – 2010 - 2014
  • Table 18 – Fixed broadband – market share of technologies - 2016
  • Table 19 – Bahrain – IPTV subscribers – Q1 2013; Q1 2014; Q1 2015
  • Table 20 - Facebook Stats for Bahrain compared to other Middle Eastern countries - as at August 2016
  • Table 21 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
  • Table 22 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2005 - 2017
  • Table 23 – Mobile market revenue – 2007 - 2015
  • Table 24 – Mobile monthly ARPU – 2008 - 2014
  • Table 25 – Bahrain total prepaid mobile subscribers - 1999 – Q3 2016
  • Table 26 – Zain Bahrain prepaid subscribers - 2004 - 2015
  • Table 27 – SMS message sent – 2008 - 2013
  • Table 28 – Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2012 – 2017
  • Table 29 – Accepted cumulative mobile number portability requests – 2011 – Q3 2016
  • Table 30 – Batelco total group mobile subscribers – 2005 – Q1 2017
  • Table 31 – Zain Bahrain – revenue, EBITDA, CAPEX and ARPU - 2005 – 2016
  • Exhibit 1 – Bahrain – National fixed voice services operators

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Paul is by far, the leading telecommunications analyst in Australia. Not only is his company's research first class and timely, it is superbly contextual to the complexities of today's modern media and communications technology. He is always extremely generous in sharing his knowledge with others and has a great ability to connect people together and be a thought leader on topics of National interest such as the NBN, FttH and Smart Grids.

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