Bahrain tops Mideast telecom infrastructure index
Manama, June 4, 2014
Bahrain has the highest telecommunications infrastructure index in the Middle East, said a report citing a top minister.
According to Minister of State for Telecommunications Affairs Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, the country sees itself as a beacon for "how a properly-regulated telecoms and Information and communications technology (ICT) market can bear great fruit both in terms of service provision, and revenue generation," reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
The minister was speaking during his opening address at ITU's 14th annual Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR14) in Manama.
"The financial figures that our market produces - collated by the TRA from Bahrain's service providers - bear this out," Shaikh Fawaz said.
"By the end of last year we had a total of 2.21 million mobile telephone subscriptions, a penetration rate of 173 per cent, with 4G available throughout the country," he stated.
"Broadband subscriptions at the same time numbered 1.63 million, a penetration rate of 123 per cent," he added.
He said the fact that fixed-line penetration had during the same period fallen to just 20 per cent and 251,000 subscribers was "one of those unusual situations where fewer telephones demonstrate a market's growing maturity".
"Bahrain's telecoms and ICT sector contributes annual revenues of more than BD500 million ($1.3 billion) directly to the economy.
"Based on Bahrain's GDP last year of $32.8 billion, the revenue generated by the telecoms and ICT industry represents 4 per cent of total GDP - a massively significant percentage, greater than the figure might suggest at first.
"This represents the direct contribution that this sector makes to the economy, but this is obviously dwarfed by the benefits that Bahraini businesses achieve from having access to a fast, modern and reliable telecoms and ICT infrastructure.
"The benefits may be unquantifiable, but are nothing less than priceless," the minister added.
"As our market matures and becomes more advanced, it has been possible to keep prices competitive and, in some cases, see prices fall," he said.
"The strong regulatory environment has made this possible, as well increased consumer choice and improved quality of service through effective and fair competition," he added.-TradeArabia News Service