TRA slashes Batelco interconnection charges
Manama, June 18, 2012
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of Bahrain has issued an order setting "fair and reasonable" charges for the regulated access and interconnection services offered by Batelco to other licensed operators (OLOs) in the kingdom.
The order details the justifications behind TRA’s modifications of the price terms of the services listed in Batelco’s Reference Offer for 2012, a TRA statement said.
Following the review of Batelco’s Reference Offer (RO) submission, TRA was not satisfied that the proposed charges were in line with the Telecommunications Law, the statement said.
It consequently issued a draft order in November 2011 setting revised charges and the basis for the adjustments made. In previous annual reviews, the RO draft order was only consulted with Batelco.
However, as the RO affects the whole industry and in order to promote greater transparency, TRA issued the draft order for public consultation in response to which several operators submitted their comments. The comments received were carefully considered by the Authority when before its final position.
Commenting on this order, TRA’s general director, Mohamed Bubashait, said: “A sensible wholesale offer to OLOs is a key regulatory instrument supporting competition and choice in the telecommunications sector. The charges set in this order are evidence-based, fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory, and allow Batelco to earn a fair and reasonable return on its investment.”
The key highlights of the new charges are:
* Bitstream and Wholesale DSL charges are decreasing between 2 per cent and 26 per cent compared to current charges. This will support the provision of cheaper and faster broadband offers in the retail market.
* Interconnection links charges are decreasing between 30 per cent and 50 per cent compared to current charges.
* Interconnection services charges are stable.
* Duct access charges are kept unchanged. TRA also introduced a maximum price that Batelco can charge to OLOs for the field study stage required prior to cabling.
* Domestic eased lines charges are decreasing by up to 46 per cent. This will support the offering of more competitive prices to business users and help Bahrain as a business hub.
* Charges for international leased half circuits to GCC Countries are decreasing between 28 per cent and 68 per cent. For Southeast/East Asia, Europe and the US, the charges are decreasing between 41 per cent and 45 per cent.This will support the competitiveness of Bahrain.
“The work TRA does at the wholesale level is critical as it underpins competition between operators which in turn provides benefits to consumers in terms of lower prices and better services. The reductions in key wholesale services will ultimately translate into better propositions at the retail level for retail customers and businesses,” Bubashait concluded. – TradeArabia News Service