The telecommunications sector in Bahrain is robust and progressive and it contributes about 4% a year to the Kingdom's GDP, reports Research & Markets.
Bahrain is striving to drive further growth in the telecoms sector in 2020 by ensuring it is competitive and adaptable to market dynamics.
The major telecoms operators include Batelco, STC Bahrain and Zain Bahrain, with the industry regulated by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), which is currently working to resolve regulatory and spectrum hurdles to prepare for 5G. In mid-2019, the regulator renewed the mobile frequency licences held by Batelco and Zain for another ten-year period.
This government support enabled Batelco to launch the first commercial 5G network in Bahrain in mid-2019. Batelco also undertook a significant operational restructure in 2019 and launched Bahrain's National Broadband Network, operated by BNET.
Bahrain's telecommunications industry is guided by its Fourth National Telecommunications Plan which focuses on fibre-optic infrastructure deployment and establishing affordable prices for high-speed access.
Overall, the mobile broadband sector is poised for growth with 4G networks in place and a high mobile subscriber penetration paving the way for adoption. Zain Bahrain's data revenues have been steadily increasing since at least 2015, and there is also evidence that fixed-broadband penetration is rising in Bahrain.
The analyst notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains all around the world. During this time, the telecoms sector may experience a downturn in mobile device and ICT equipment production and a decline in consumer spending on telecoms services. Overall progress towards 5G may also be postponed or slowed down in some countries.