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Sat 12 May 2012 11:06 AM

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Batelco warns of disruptions amid mobile upgrade

Bahrain telco says customers may be impacted as broadband upgrade plan progresses

Batelco warns of disruptions amid mobile upgrade
A South Korea shop manager shows Samsung Electronics Galaxy S mobile phone (R) and Apples iPhone 3G at a shop in Seoul

Batelco, the Bahraini telecom operator, has warned that customers may experience some disruption to their mobile services as it embarks on a major broadband upgrade programme.

The telco is in the process of enhancing both upload and download speeds for mobile broadband to keep them on par with international standards.

The upgrade work which began on May 6, will take place in various areas up until September 8 with disruptions possible, Batelco said in a statement.

"This project may cause some brief disruption to mobile services. However, measures have been taken to ensure minimal degradation while the upgrades take place," the statement said.

"Work will take place in the early hours of the morning between 12am and 6am and affect services from between 30 minutes and up to four hours," it added.

The mobile broadband upgrade works are scheduled for more than 70 areas around the Gulf kingdom but only two to four areas will be affected at any one time, Batelco said.

"We apologise for any inconvenience the work may cause and appreciate the understanding and cooperation of our customers," said Ahmed Al Janahi, Batelco Group general manager, media relations.

Mobile phone subscribers in Bahrain reached about 1.7 million by the end of 2011, with a penetration rate of 133 percent, the Gulf kingdom's telecoms regulator said earlier this year.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said in a report that at the end of 2011, there were approximately 290,000 internet subscribers in Bahrain, all of whom were broadband subscribers, an increase of 42 percent compared to 2010.

Broadband penetration in Bahrain reached 23 percent last year, the TRA said, representing a total of 126,000 mobile broadband subscribers.

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