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Bahrain plans 75pc cut in Gulf roaming rates

Manama, February 12, 2012

The Bahrain Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has directed all mobile operators in the Kingdom to slash roaming charges by up to 75 per cent, a statement said.

The move comes following a decision taken at the ministerial committee of the GCC Council to introduce maximum prices. Already some of the operators in the region have implemented the decision.

The TRA said it had instructed all the mobile operators in the Kingdom - Batelco, Zain and Viva Bahrain - to implement the reduced tariffs and was working closely with them to ensure a smooth implementation of the decision.

The TRA decision sets the maximum charge applicable to international calls to 249 fils per minute from within the Gulf countries made by a Bahraini mobile user while roaming in the region using any of the existing mobile operators.

Currently Bahraini consumers pay as much as 1BD per minute for calls made back to Bahrain while roaming in some Gulf states, said the TRA in a statement.

This means that once the new tariff is implemented it will reduce the call costs by up to 75 per cent depending on the current prices of different countries and operators.

According to TRA, this is a major step in the reduction of roaming prices for voice calls.

As per this, the maximum rates will only apply to voice calls made within and between GCC countries and not to data services (eg mobile broadband or SMS) at this point.

The TRA decision also limits the charge applicable to local calls made within the visited GCC country by a Bahraini mobile user while roaming in that country to 104 fils per minute to either a fixed or mobile number within that country.

Consumers will now benefit from lower rates when making calls back home and international calls while roaming, said a senior official.

Commenting on the move, TRA’s general director Mohamed Bubashait, said: 'The implementation of maximum prices will bring further saving to consumers roaming between the GCC member states and will support cross-border business activities.'

'Cost-effective and efficient telecommunications services raise the competitiveness of all economic sectors by way of providing cost reductions and convenience of access to telecommunications services,' explained Bubashait.

This, he said, contributes towards improving business and individual productivity and enhancing the Kingdom’s and also the region’s attractiveness as a global investment center.

“This is a major achievement for TRA, which has led the development and negotiation of the GCC roaming regulation for the benefit of all GCC consumers,” Bubashait added.

TRA market and competition manager Adel Darwish, said, “We are working closely with mobile telecommunications companies to ensures mooth implementation of this decision and also co-ordinating with other GCC regulators to ensure that this decision is inline with the GCC Council’s objectives and directions.”

'With this decision implemented across all GCC countries, consumers will be more comfortable using their own mobile phones while roaming,' said Bubashait.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Telecom | Gulf | TRA | Telecommunications Regulatory Authority | roaming | call rates |

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