The two companies will initially concentrate on improving Batelco’s mobile services, providing faster connections and new applications. The agreement also offers Batelco a third-generation (3G) capability if it chooses to roll out a network. MTC-Vodafone, the Kuwait/UK joint venture awarded Bahrain’s second GSM licence in April, signed a contract in July with Germany’s Siemens to supply the Middle East’s first 3G network (MEED 1:8:03).

Following work to upgrade Batelco’s mobile services, Ericsson will also assist in the improvement of the incumbent’s fixed-line and other services. In July, Ericsson was awarded a contract to supply Batelco with new fixed multi-service and broadband access technology (MEED 11:7:03).

On 27 October, Batelco signed agreements with five local distributors to market the company’s prepaid mobile, fixed-line and internet products, with the aim of widening their availability to consumers.