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Wed 25 Nov 2009 08:02 AM

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Batelco fined $13.3m by Bahrain telecom watchdog

Telco punished for blocking access to international data lines for rival Mena Telecom.

Bahrain telco
Batelco

has been fined more than BD5 million ($13.3m) for failing to allow another operator to connect directly to international data lines, it was reported on Wednesday.

It was also ordered by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) to allow access to Mena Telecom within 30 days - or face more fines of BD100,000 for every day it fails to do so.

But the base fine will be reduced by BD100,000 for each working day that
Batelco

provides access ahead of the deadline, the TRA was quoted as saying in the Gulf Daily News.

The order compels
Batelco

to enable Mena Telecom to purchase international capacity and directly interconnect with Reliance Globalcom, at
Batelco

's premises in Telegraph House.

"Direct access to the international capacity of the FALCON submarine cable system has been identified as a key issue for the further development of competition within the telecommunications sector and the kingdom's economy," said TRA general director Alan Horne in comments published by the paper.

"TRA considers the actions of
Batelco

have been to the detriment of Bahraini citizens, businesses and the economy," he added.

The TRA said the fine reflected the "seriousness of the situation".

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geg hopkins 10 years ago

Batelco are actually getting a raw deal and politics are for sure a lot to do with it. It is like they are just fair game for any criticism and the rest are saints. Of course everyone should have access, just as B.T. discovered in the old days and it was a stupid inane mentality that brought this on and mainly 'just because they could' and thought they were protected from above. Of all the telecos in places like Bahrain, Batelco are probably among the best in the world for its infrastructure. Although starting extremely expensive for everything, and still are, just as the others are for some things like Internet: Batelco are not actually as greedy as most and have considerably forced prices down even before competition. This has done more for the natiion than any other will. Now Zain, Saudi Telecom and the UAE will be following Batelco's not so wise install of the much cheaper (by comparison) Chinese Huawei and everything is IP routed, so the noise will die down as there wont be too much to moan about, other than more than a life time's worth of teething problems, which Batelco are quietly, if not secretly dealing with now. Wait it is coming! Has anyone actually noticed the appalling quality of voice on calls these days as bandwidth is squeezed very unnecessarily to death with IP routing. There is actually no reason why we should not be in glorious stereo in this century, but no and that is due to not only greed, but artistically zero smart-ass geeks thinking they are so clever with this stuff. Like the amateur production and shocking quality Voice Over IP, corporate help lines everywhere, it seems nobody cares.