By Andy Sambidge
Data services to drive growth in sector which is close to saturation point - report.
Revenue from mobile phone data in Bahrain is forecast to hit $239m by 2014, more than double the figure for 2007 despite an expected fall in prices.
According to a new report by Pyramid Research, the mobile phone sector in the kingdom is approaching saturation point and will grow at an annual rate of less than two percent until 2014.
It said data services will remain the main drivers of growth in both the fixed and mobile sectors.
Earlier this month, the head of Batelco’s Bahraini operations warned that the high number of telecoms licence holders in the Gulf state’s market means that many of them will struggle to achieve profit.
“There have been more than 100 licences given out for fixed, mobile and internet services in Bahrain, which is far too many. A lot of the players are struggling to get economies of scale – or any kind of scale in the first place,” Batelco Bahrain chief executive Gert Rieder told Arabian Business.
"Broadband revenue will rise despite falling prices, as the number of subscribers grows from 150,000 in 2007 to 245,000 in 2014," analysts at Pyramid added.
Mobile data revenue will increase from $105m to $239m over the same period, driven largely by SMS and mobile broadband, it added.
It said the distribution of revenue between fixed and mobile services is likely to remain stagnant over the forecast period.
Separately, Pyramid said broadband subscriber rates in the Middle East and Africa would be about 20 percent per annum.
It added that the region was outpacing all developed regions in terms of growth of adoption of wireless technology.