Batelco wins TRA nod for key incentives
Manama, April 23, 2010
Batelco has been given a Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) carte blanche on offering promotions and incentives to its mobile customers, said a top official of the company.
Batelco Group chief executive Peter Kaliaropoulos said the TRA and the company had stopped "pointing fingers" at each other and relations between the two were "far better".
"The message now from the TRA is that we can do what we want as long as we do not offer services below the cost price," Kaliaropoulos said during a press conference at the Batelco headquarters in Hamala.
"This is the reason why we are now making attractive offers to customers, which are one of the most competitive in the market."
However, he said TRA was still as tough as it always was. "We have had issues with them and have tried to resolve them through negotiations. However, we are not averse to going to court in the case of unresolved issues."
Kaliaropoulos said companies all over the world have issues with regulators and go to court regularly. "However, we move on and work goes on as usual."
The chief executive said all issues relating to a BD5 million ($13.3 million) TRA fine on Batelco last year for failing to allow another operator to connect directly to international data lines had been resolved. "We have settled all the fines," he added.
Kaliaropoulos said the company had been looking at investing in overseas operations and said a major $2 billion investment deal overseas was likely to be announced this year.
"We are also investing $66 million in developing the network and infrastructure in Bahrain in the next year," he said. "This would considerably augment services in the coming years."
Kaliaropoulos said a recent controversy regarding the use of the Bahraini flag with the company's advertisements was regrettable.
"We were told it's not legal to use the flag in hoardings and billboards and we realised it was a mistake. We took corrective action immediately and apologised," he said.
He said the idea was to portray the company as a truly international Bahraini identity. "In the process we got extremely creative and gave the message to the people."
The company earlier announced it had posted a net profit of $64.5m and gross revenues of $227.8 million for the first quarter of the year.
It said whilst net revenues grew by 4pc year-on-year across all their operations from data, mobile and fixed services, funding its start-up operations reduced its net profit by 7pc resulting in earnings per share of 16.9 fils.-TradeArabia News Service