By Sam Bridge
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority says Bahraini telcos offer lowest mobile prices in the Gulf
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain has revealed that the price of mobile phone services decreased by 15 percent between 2018 and 2019.
In its 2019 Telecommunications Retail Price Benchmarking Report, the regulator said telecommunications companies in Bahrain offer the lowest prices in the GCC, especially in the high usage baskets.
As a result of the decrease in mobile prices, mobile subscriptions with data services reached 78 percent by the end of 2019, and mobile data usage increased by 74 percent between 2017 and 2018, according to the report.
It added that the change of consumers' usage behaviour from traditional voice services to data services has contributed to reducing the number of mobile subscriptions in recent years.
Despite this decrease, the mobile penetration rate in Bahrain is still one of the highest in the world, and it is also higher than the average penetration rate in developed countries, the report noted.
The study also showed that fixed and mobile broadband prices in Bahrain are 19 percent lower than the average prices in GCC countries.
Since the issuance of the Fourth National Telecommunications Plan in mid-2016, the number of fixed wired broadband subscriptions has increased by 71 percent.
According to the latest market data, the broadband penetration rate reached 157 percent by the end of the third quarter of 2019, and internet data usage increased by 185 percent between 2015 and 2018.
The report said competition also contributed to lower prices for fixed broadband services with high speeds, making them available to a high percentage of users.
"Promoting competition and encouraging investment in the telecommunications sector is ongoing and keeps pace with all economic developments and the latest global technologies in order to bring more benefits to users," said the TRA’s acting director general Nasser bin Mohamed Al Khalifa.
“In this regard and after achieving Batelco separation and establishing the National Broadband Network, TRA is implementing a number of initiatives that will enable this network to provide advanced services allowing operators to provide various services at competitive prices.”
He added: “With regards to mobile services, TRA has provided the required spectrum and granted sufficient frequency licenses to provide 5G services, making Bahrain one of the first countries in the region to establish 5G networks. Through these initiatives, TRA seeks to achieve the government strategic goal to keep Bahrain at the forefront regionally and internationally and make it a regional hub for trade and ICT.”