Bahraini operators awarded spectrum for LTE

25 September 2013 | Kavit Majithia


Three mobile operators in Bahrain have been awarded radio spectrum to launch LTE networks in the kingdom.

The move comes after Bahrain’s telecoms regulatory authority scrapped an auction to allow new entrants into the sector, which would further increase competition in the market.

Viva Bahrain, a unit of STC, received the largest amount of spectrum with six lots, while Batelco and Kuwaiti operator Zain received four and two lots respectively.

Viva Bahrain announced its intentions to launch LTE services in early 2012, but the announcement was only symbolic due to large capacity constraints, according to market watchers.

The award of new frequencies will allow operators to expand LTE in the country. The companies had the option of relocating existing spectrum, but it this would have effected its other services.

Bahrain’s regulators have been intent on improving the country’s communications infrastructure, while promoting investment from operators to build nationwide fibre networks and allow for high bandwidth and network speeds.

An open spectrum auction was announced in January, with the intention to sell spectrum to new players, including internet providers, but this was restricted to mobile players, before being scrapped altogether.