Field narrows for second GSM licence

28 March 2003
The government has shortlisted three groups of bidders for the licence to operate a second GSM network in the kingdom. They are: the UK's Vodafone, with Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC)of Kuwait; the local Kingdom Investmentsin consortium with Wataniya Telecom Bahrain, the local subsidiary of NationalMobile Telecommunications Company (Wataniya)of Kuwait; and Kalaam(MEED 21:3:03).

The newly-formed Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, which has been charged with handling the liberalisation of the telecoms sector, is expected to select a preferred bidder soon and formally award the 15-year concession by late April. The new licence will break the monopoly held by the existing mobile and fixed-line incumbent, Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco).

The selected operator will gain the rights to offer GSM services throughout Bahrain and interconnect with the existing fixed and cellular network of Batelco. In addition, the successful bidder will also have the option to develop third-generation services (Telecoms, MEED Special Report, 10:1:03, pages 33-34).

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