Bloomberg News

Bahrain Operators Losing Out to Competitors in 4G Spectrum

October 05, 2011

Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Bahraini telecommunications operators are at a disadvantage to their competitors because the regulator has yet to allocate bandwidth for fourth generation wireless usage, said Abdulhamid Chehab, general manager of mobile networks at Batelco.

“We are losing competitive edge here,” Chehab told reporters at a conference in Dubai. Demand is rising with average data volume per user doubling every six months, he said.

Emirates Telecommunications Corp., known as Etisalat, offered 4G services last month and operators in Saudi Arabia rolled out the enhanced network in September. 4G is the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards which allows for faster data transmission, better voice quality and new mobile phone applications. Batelco, based in Manama, competes in Bahrain with Kuwait’s Zain and Viva, a Saudi Telecom Co. unit.

Operators have yet to receive a “firm” response from the telecoms regulator on “when and which spectrum” will be used, Chehab said.

--Editors: Tim Farrand, Peter Woodifield

To contact the reporter on this story: Tamara Walid in Dubai at twalid@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net


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