France Telecom-backed telecoms group shores up Bahraini presence.
Jordan Telecom Group, backed by its strategic shareholder France Telecom, has announced the acquisition of a controlling stake in Bahrain-based Lightspeed Communications. The deal will help see the launch of broadband packages in both the residential and enterprise markets in Bahrain.
A partnership consisting 51% Jordan Telecom and 49% individual investors is set to invest US$5 million over the next two years in the Bahraini telecoms sector through Lightspeed Communications.
"The initiative will offer customers more choices and outstanding quality in broadband voice and internet services," commented Marc Rennard, executive vice president of France Telecom Orange Group in charge of Africa, Middle East and Asia.
Jordan Telecom will launch double and triple play services in Bahrain before the end of the summer, and the investment is part of the telco's ongoing investment strategy to increase its presence in the Middle East.
Jordan Telecom is one of the first fully integrated operators in the region, providing fixed, mobile, internet and data, content, as well as wholesale services to its customers.
Lightspeed Communications is Bahrain's first alternative fixed-line telecoms operator, offering value-added services for residential and business markets. Its initial offerings will bring the next generation of triple play services (IP voice, video and data) to Bahrain. The company has received four licences from Bahrain's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority since September 2003.
Lightspeed Communications, in its capacity as an alternative fixed-line telecoms operator is also pioneering the introduction of videophones and value-added video services. The company's managing director, Sheikh Abdulla Khalid Al-Khalifa, is a keen supporter of the argument that incumbent telecoms providers need to adapt their business plans to cope with the entry of new, disruptive, technologies such as VoIP.
As one of the first countries in the region to deregulate its telecoms market, Bahrain stands out as a good example of the effects other national regulators and the markets they preside over may expect as the industry opens up. In Bahrain, Lightspeed Communications marked its debut in March 2005 with the launch of its flagship ‘iVault' solution. The data centre - driven by technology provided by Gulf Business Machines (GBM) - was the first to enable financial institutions and others to securely host their mission-critical systems.
According to Al-Khalifa the launch of iVault, represented a significant step forward in allowing organisations to economically meet their business continuity needs.
Lightspeed also believes voice services are increasingly becoming bundled as part of multiple solutions.