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Taiba Albinali and Abdulelah Abdulla

89pc in Bahrain have Internet access at home

MANAMA, April 6, 2016

While 100 per cent of respondents to a survey conducted by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain (TRA) have access to mobile phone, 89 per cent have access to Internet at home and only 12 per cent have a fixed line service.

The TRA has released the results of two residential surveys that were conducted during 2015. The “Telecommunications Markets Survey” examined the usage of and access to different telecommunications services including fixed lines, mobile phones and internet services by users as well as measuring the extent to which users are satisfied with their telecommunications services.

The “Consumer Experience Survey” studied the consumers’ satisfaction levels with the main service providers across multiple levels such as telecommunications services, call center, shops, complaints handlings, bill and contracts.  Where appropriate, the consumer experience survey also compares the results among the main telecommunications service providers. The two surveys covering a representative sample of 1196 and 1520 respectively.

Taiba Albinali, TRA’s acting director of Consumer Affairs and Media, said: “The impressive growth in telecommunications services during the past years has led to an increasing demand for accurate data and statistics on telecommunications sector. Indicators and statistical data are critical in order to design, monitor and evaluate policies. They support the development and the implementation of evidence-based regulation and policy.”

“While the Authority already gathers market statistics from licensed operators which represents the ‘supply-side’ perspective of the market, it is also valuable to obtain information from the ‘demand-side’ consumer perspective in order to understand how they use telecommunications services. In particular, Telecommunications market survey is an important source of telecommunications statistics as it provides invaluable insights into how and where people access and use telecommunications services.

“The consumer experience survey results also provide us with an interesting picture of consumers’ opinions and their experience when dealing with the service providers. This survey touches upon multiple levels of consumer touch points and measures the full journey of consumer experience. The results have identified some areas of concerns to consumers that need to be addressed collectively by TRA and service providers to ensure that residential consumers in the Kingdom are enjoying better experience,” she added.

In terms of usage of telecommunications services, the survey shows that average usage of SMS per week has decreased dramatically from 20 SMSs per week in 2011 to only 2 SMSs per week in 2015. The survey also shows that free messaging applications represents 93 per cent while SMS represents only 7 per cent of respondents massaging. Majority of respondents in 2015 use mobile phones to make weekly international calls followed by Smartphone applications.

Telecommunications Market Survey also examined the switching behaviour among different telecommunications service providers. Twelve per cent of respondents who own fixed line have switched their fixed line providers in 2015.

Same percentage of respondents have switched their mobile service providers and slightly lower percentage of respondents (10 per cent) have switched their internet service providers. The main reasons for switching between services providers are different among the telecommunications services. “Quality of Service” is the main reason for switching for fixed line service, “attractive promotion” for mobile phone service and the “better prices” for internet service.

In relation to consumers’ satisfaction, TRA’s manager of Media and Public Relations Abdulelah Abdulla stated: “The Telecommunications Markets Survey indicated that overall consumer satisfaction with telecommunications services in Bahrain has remained high (above 90 per cent) in 2015 across different telecommunications services, however the Consumer Experience Survey pinpointed some areas of concerns to consumers where satisfaction levels are low.”

“The Consumer Experience Survey detailed that consumers are suffering from indoor mobile coverage with dissatisfaction level of 32 per cent and mobile data quality with dissatisfaction level of 38 per cent. Consumers are also dissatisfied with the waiting time over the call center and in shops of the mobile operators were dissatisfaction level recorded at 36 per cent and 32 per cent,” he added.

Consumer satisfaction with home broadband services was driven mainly by the service reliability, and bills experience.  On the other hand, consumer faced some challenges which decreased their satisfaction. The biggest of which is their experience with Transparency of Information provided by providers. Following to this, consumers who had formally submitted complaints to Broadband providers were extremely dissatisfied from their experience. Some challenges also came across touch points, such as long waiting time in shops & call center, in addition to lack of staff knowledge.

Awareness of TRA was also covered in the consumer experience survey. Out of total respondents, only 24 per cent have heard about TRA before. The main source of TRA awareness was “print ads” and “word of mouth”. Few consumers knew TRA’s website, and a much fewer of them correctly identified TRA’s Call Center number. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Internet | Mobile users | TRA Bahrain |

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