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Analysis of Telecom sector in Bahrain - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

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  • 120 Pages
  • January 2022
  • Region: Bahrain
  • Mordor Intelligence
  • ID: 5026059
UP TO OFF until Sep 30th 2023

Telecom sector in Bahrain is expected to regsiter a CAGR of 6% over the forecast period (2021 - 2026). The country has been at the forefront of technological, market, and regulatory changes for decades. To maintain its competitive positioning, Bahrain's monarchy and the Bahrain government have taken active steps in driving its telecom sector, with the Kingdom of Bahrain Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) at the core of this process.

Key Highlights

  • The TRA is primarily responsible for the implementation of Bahrain's National Telecommunications Plan and to govern the competitive environment of the telecom industry. It works closely with policy-makers to digitally transform the country's telecom sector from a statutory monopoly operator to multiple players competing for a share for the healthy growth of the market. For instance, TRA was able to switch the market Batelco's monopoly with oligopoly, with the introduction of vendors, such as Zain and Viva, in the region.
  • The region also has taken extreme measures to facilitate the investment foundation in ICT. It aims to acquire relevant skills and talent required through tailored training and building programs for the industry to function inline with the Economic Vision 2030, launched in 2008. Economic Vision 2030 is focused on sustainability, fairness, and competitiveness as Bahrain aims to become a smart kingdom by transforming the country to be a leading business and ICT hub for internet content and application.
  • Also, according to the recent ITU report, the Kingdom of Bahrain ranked 4th worldwide in the Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII), with the reported mobile subscription rate of 140% of the total population, 3rd global rank in terms of estimated of 98% of internet users. Also, the recent report on market indicators in 2019 states that the region has achieved the first position in the Arab world and is ranked 31st globally, on the ICT Development Index.
  • For instance, in March 2019, the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications announced that the Kingdom of Bahrain started its preparations for the rollout of 5G networks, and the TRA has scheduled the allocation of the licensing and spectrum in the first week of April. This reflects the kingdom's drive for innovation, leveraging the latest technologies, and supporting the stakeholders in the ICT sector.
  • Furthermore, the region also facilitates internet access to all educational institutions as part of its digital empowerment initiative. Additionally, it provides free internet access in public areas, including tourist areas, malls, and public facilities.

Key Market Trends

Digital Transformation Trends within the Telecom Sector

  • The Kingdom of Bahrain is considered to be a regional player in digital transformation, owing to its premature realization about the potential and importance of technology, which enables economic growth, human development, and job creation, It is well known for its support for technology-driven businesses, with government bodies taking care of the regulatory role and governance.
  • For instance, Bahrain was the first country in GCC to liberalize its telecom sector, as it stands to lead the region with a well-established information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure.
  • The region has issued standards for IoT connectivity with support for the use of frequency bands for IoT systems used in international mobile communications systems. It also issued the working document to harmonize the use of IMT spectrum for the narrowband IoT applications.
  • Additionally, the region also ensured that the wireless and fibers are in place to support 5G. It reformed its frequency bands to accommodate the 5G network. For instance, in June 2019, Batelco announced the launch of a commercial 5G network available in Amwaj and Reef Island, making it the first telecom provider in Bahrain to implement a commercial 5G network.
  • Furthermore, Bahrain Airport deploys advanced information and communications technology (ICT) solutions, including IoT, cloud-based unified communications, and Big Data, for the deployment of communication systems across the entire airport. Additionally, it also delivers data sharing and analytics capabilities to leverage systems, including Airport Operation Database and Airport Collaborative Decision-Making.

Broadband Holds Largest Market Share

  • The increasing requirement for data among the consumers, businesses, and government bodies continues to drive the telecom sector substantially. Consumer demand for telecommunications services, such as broadband, continues to evolve innovative applications, also the spectrum-hungry applications boost the demand for networks with high-speed capacity.
  • For instance, in August 2019, the Kingdom of Bahrain's internet speed was reported to have improved considerably with an average speed of 55.12 Mbps and rose by ten places in one month as per the speedtest global index
  • According to the quarterly market indicator (Q4 2019) report conducted by TRA based on Bahrain's lowest cost of high-speed internet service within range 10 to, 100 Mbps states that broadband penetration has reached 156.6% owing to 2,354,538 number of subscription with an increase of 7.5% in Q4 2019 as compared Q4 2018.
  • Also, fixed wired broadband subscriptions reported an increase of 14.3% while the wireless broadband reported 7% in Q4 2019, and standalone broadband subscriptions increased by 20.8% compared to Q4 2018.
  • On the other hand, other services, such as mobile services and fixed telephony services, reported a penetration rate of 138% and 15%, respectively, with telephony services reporting a 12.7% decline in outgoing domestic traffic and mobile services reporting a 14.6% decline in outing traffic.
  • Also, the dominance of online content by OTT players, such as Google, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube, is the root cause for concerns about net neutrality in markets, including Western Europe and North America. However, most of the MENA market is at the early stage of the data boom, which is forcing vendors to develop strategies that allow them to maximize the demand for non-voice services among users. For instance, in February 2020, Batelco announced its partnership with Vianeos, a French multi-screen video platform, to enhance the OTT services.
  • Furthermore, TRA devotes its resources to investigate complaints posed by consumers any telecommunication provides the best solution to the customer within their defined service level agreements.
  • Additionally, in March 2020, amidst the global pandemic of COVID-19, Batelco announced that it is enabling free unlimited usage to all its fixed internet users to support the nation's initiative and government effort.

Competitive Landscape

The evolving nature of Bahrain's telecommunication industry has led to the creation of a vibrant mix of players comprised of large licensed operators and niche players. The industry is expected to experience fragmentation as operators, including MenaTelecom, focuses on providing niche products, such as fixed-line broadband service with stable returns. However, the large enterprises continue to invest in their infrastructure to keep up with technological advantages and expand offerings.

  • March 2020 - Batelco announced its partnership with Aptilo Networks to deliver business-to-business Wi-Fi services in Bahrain. Under the partnership, the company has selected Aptilo Service Management Platform (SMP) with Aptilo SMP Venue Wi-Fi Manager to deploy its nationwide managed Wi-Fi service.
  • November 2019 - Zain Bahrain selected Ericsson to deploy its 5G radio network in the kingdom of Bahrain. This partnership allows the company to offer enhanced fixed wireless access and mobile broadband to leverage the potential applications of technological trends, including AR, VR, and IoT.

Additional Benefits:

  • The market estimate (ME) sheet in Excel format
  • 3 months of analyst support

This product will be delivered within 2 business days.

Table of Contents

1.1 Study Deliverables
1.2 Study Assumptions
1.3 Scope of the Study
4.1 Market Overview
4.2 Market Drivers
4.2.1 High Mobile penetration, Low Tariff, and Mature Regulatory Authority
4.2.2 Successful Privatization and Liberalization Initiatives
4.3 Market Challenges
4.3.1 Increasing Data Demand Leading to Complexity in Service Delivery for Smaller Operators
4.4 Value Chain / Supply Chain Analysis
4.5 Porter's Five Forces Analysis
4.5.1 Threat of New Entrants
4.5.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers
4.5.3 Bargaining Power of Suppliers
4.5.4 Threat of Substitute Products
4.5.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry
4.6 Assesment of the Impact of COVID-19 in the Industry
7.1 Breakdown of Retail Services Revenue (Fixed Line Services, Mobile Services, International Calls, Internet Services, and Leased line Services), in BD million, 2013-2019
7.2 Breakdown of Broadband Subscriptions, in million, by Access Type (Fixed Wired and Wireless Subscription, Pay-per-use mobile broadband, Standalone mobile broadband, and Add-on broadband to voice), 2013-2019
7.3 Annual Data Consumption, in Petabyte, 2014-2019
8.1 Type
8.1.1 Mobile
8.1.2 Fixed-line
8.1.3 Broadband
10.1 Company Profiles
10.1.1 Ascentech Telecom
10.1.2 Batelco (Bahrain Telecommunication Company BSC)
10.1.3 BT Solutions Ltd
10.1.4 Equant Global Network (EGN BV)
10.1.5 Etisalcom Bahrain
10.1.6 Gulf Electronic Tawasul
10.1.7 Infonas WLL
10.1.8 STC Bahrain
10.1.9 Zain Bahrain
10.1.10 Kalaam Telecom Bahrain
10.1.11 Nuetel Communications
10.1.12 Rapid Telecom
10.1.13 Viacloud Telecom
10.1.14 Vodafone Enterprise Bahrain WLL

Companies Mentioned

A selection of companies mentioned in this report includes:

  • Ascentech Telecom
  • Batelco (Bahrain Telecommunication Company BSC)
  • BT Solutions Ltd
  • Equant Global Network (EGN BV)
  • Etisalcom Bahrain
  • Gulf Electronic Tawasul
  • Infonas WLL
  • STC Bahrain
  • Zain Bahrain
  • Kalaam Telecom Bahrain
  • Nuetel Communications
  • Rapid Telecom
  • Viacloud Telecom
  • Vodafone Enterprise Bahrain WLL