Bahrain

ICT sector in Bahrain:

The telecommunications sector in Bahrain currently contributes around $1.07bn to the Bahrain economy (roughly 4% of the GDP). Figures released by the Bahrain Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (the TRA) in 2011 suggest that around 2708 individuals are employed in the sector, although it is expected that this number will continue to rise.

The TRA market report of December 2012 suggested that there are 22 active telecommunication companies. Since liberalisation occurred some ten years ago however, the telecoms market is largely accounted for by Batelco (the former incumbent), Zain Bahrain (formerly MTC Vodafone) and Viva (whose parent company is Saudi Telecom). Other licensees, such as Menatelecom, have enjoyed good penetration by seeking to provide certain services (such as WIMAX services).

In terms of the GCC states, Bahrain is one of the more recent states to offer 4G LTE technology but the three main telecoms providers in Bahrain (Batelco, Zain Bahrain and Viva) are currently rolling out their LTE services to customers. This service is leading to increased opportunities for investors and suppliers.

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in 2012, Bahrain has one of the most improving ICT infrastructures in the world (it moved up 5 places from 45th to 40th, the largest single gain of any country).

In addition, the same ITU survey found that in terms of price competitiveness, Bahrain was the 15th best placed country and that “’further increases in ICT usage may be expected”.