Bahrain’s Mobile Penetration Rate Rises To 138%

| Sep 26, 2008 | comment Leave a comment

Flag of BahrainBahrain’s mobile penetration rate has the potential to reach 164 per cent by 2012, a penetration rate, which is already being reached in some European countries and in other parts of the Middle East.

By the end of 2007, the number of mobile subscribers in Bahrain had increased to 1.116 million, translating to a penetration rate of nearly 138 per cent.

Bahrain’s mobile market continues to produce remarkable rates of growth, in spite of the regulator’s recent insistence that operators count only active subscribers within their reported customer totals.

This was revealed by market research firm Companies and Markets in its recently released Bahrain Telecommunications Report Q3 2008.

Growth in the final quarter of the year was stronger than in all three previous quarters combined. The number of mobile customers saw a 15.7 per cent surge in Q4 of 2007, with growth being mainly driven by Zain’s expanding prepaid customer base. Zain’s prepaid customer base grew by 47.4 per cent in Q4 ’07, compared with a mere 3.1 per cent increase in the number of Bahrain Telecommunication Company (Batelco) prepaid customers.

Despite the already highly saturated nature of Bahrain’s mobile market, announced in April 2008, it was reported that the country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) had invited telecoms industry players and interested parties to express interest and opinions on the planned award of a third mobile network operating licence.The regulator has asked potential applicants to give opinions regarding preferred spectrum bands and size of frequency blocks to be assigned, plus related issues including infrastructure sharing, national roaming and length of shared exclusivity period.

In separate news, reported in February 2008, it was revealed that Bahrain’s government planned to sell the majority of its shares in fixed-line incumbent Batelco over the next three years, as part of the country’s Second National Telecommunication Plan approved by the Parliament earlier in the same month.

The planned sale is aimed at enabling the full-service telecom company to operate with full independence from the government and make commercial decisions free of political influence.

Bahrain Telecommunications Report Q3 2008

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