Telecommunications in Bahrain
Telecommunications in Bahrain officially began in 1981 when the Bahraini government founded the Bahrain Telecommunications Company. Since then, other companies such as Zain and VIVA have entered the telecommunications sector.1
When Batelco was first founded in 1981, Bahrain already had 45,627 telephone lines in use. By 1982, the number reached 50,000. In 1985, the country's first fibre optic cable was installed. Batelco enjoyed being a monopoly in the telecommunications sector for the next two decades. By 1999, the company had around 100,000 mobile contracts. 1
In 2002, under pressure from international bodies, Bahrain implemented its telecommunications law which included the establishment of an independent Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).1 In 2003, Batelco's monopoly over the sector broke when the TRA awarded a license to MTC Vodafone, which later re-branded itself as Zain.1 In January 2010, VIVA (a subsidiary of STC) started operations in Bahrain.
After monopolizing the market for so long by Batelco, government of Bahrain decided to open the market for other parties and companies to join the Telecommunication business. At first it was MTC voda phone (later known as Zain) in 2004.
For several years after, the two companies competed to take control of the market with special offers and low cost services with Batelco having the upper hand and the strong infrastructure. Until January 23, 2009, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain (TRA) announced that STC won the third mobile network operating license in a bid worth BD 86.7 Million (USD $231 Million). STC established STC Bahrain in 2009 but renamed it to VIVA in January 2010.1
Telephones - main lines in use: 194,200 (2006)
county comparison to the world: 124
Telephones - mobile cellular: 1,116,000 (2007)
- county comparison to the world: 132
- general assessment: modern system
- domestic: modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly growing use of mobile cellular telephones
- international: country code - 973; landing point for the Fire-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, Middle East, Europe, and US; tropospheric scatter to Qatar and UAE; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; satellite earth station - 1 (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stations: 4 (1997)
Internet hosts: 2,621 (2008)
- country comparison to the world: 135
Internet users: 250,000 (2007)
- country comparison to the world: 124
- Report: Bahrain 2008. 2008. p. 153.