Telecoms revenues hit BD450 Million despite increased competition

Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s (TRA) latest Annual Market Indicators Report Indicates that revenues in the telecoms industry continue to rise, reaching BD450 million in 2015 compared to BD430 million in 2014, and representing 4% of Bahrain’s Gross Domestic Product.

The report reveals that consumer welfare is improving steadily through the price drops of services because of increased competition.

Licensed revenue decreased by 5% from BD383 million in 2014 to BD363 million in 2015, while unlicensed revenue , such as from handset devices increased by 88% from BD47 million in 2014 to BD87.5 million in 2015.  The decrease in licensed revenues was due to hyper-competition and pressure on prices and profitability.

Fixed telephony is being outpaced by mobile due to the freedom of movement offered by mobile, as well as its cost effectiveness and the improved quality of mobile networks , and is indicated by outgoing traffic from mobile to fixed representing only 3% out of total domestic minutes. The latest market data shows that as of quarter three of 2016 there were 241,000 fixed telephony subscriptions compared to 242,000 subscriptions in 2015 and 247,000 subscriptions in 2014; that showing a decrease of 2.4% since 2014.  This decrease was reflected in the yearly revenue of fixed telephony as it dropped by a million Bahraini Dinars between 2015 (13 million) and 2014 (12 million). Also in mobile, the report indicates a 5% increase in off-network traffic between 2014 and 2015 due to free off-net offers by operators, allowing consumers to call outside of their service provider’s network to other networks.

Broadband subscription and penetration has continued to increase rapidly over the last year as it reached 2.3 million subscriptions with 164% penetration at the end of quarter three, 2016, comparing to 2 million subscriptions with 145% penetration at the end of 2015.  At the end of 2015, 83% of broadband subscribers were on plans with advertised speeds of 2Mbps and above comparing to 72% in 2014 and only 15% in 2010. The yearly usage of Mobile broadband doubled between 2014 and 2015 from 61,000 terabytes to 121,000 terabytes; mainly due to raising usage of different applications and additional free data offered by mobile operators. Fiber optics network services are increasingly becoming the most popular technology for reliable and fast data transmission over long distances. Finally, the number of fixed broadband subscriptions reached 78,000 at the end of quarter three, 2016 comparing to 72,800 in 2015 and 58,500 in 2014.

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