Phone services have been migrating from fixed lines to mobiles, and current mobile phone penetration is 182 per cent. The mobile network providers at present are Batelco, Zain Bahrain and Viva Bahrain. Most mobiles (more than 80 per cent) are operated as prepaid lines and there are more than 2.25 million subscribers in the country, which indicates that many users have multiple sim cards.
To open a new account, customers need to visit one of the stores of the three operators. For identification, the national ID card or a passport is required for prepaid, while personal details such as address and place of work, along with a guarantee in the form of a direct debit payment, a BD100 ($265) deposit or a company guarantee, are required to set up a contract. Phones can be bought outright for pay-as-you-go billing, or they can be paid for as part of the credit agreement on monthly payment plans. Pay-as-you-go sim cards cost BD2 ($5) with local calls priced at 33 fils a minute and texts at 25 fils a message, which is similar to the rates on monthly packages.