The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain (TRA) has released its latest retail price benchmark study of telecommunications services in Arab countries.
The study was commissioned by TRA on behalf of the Arab Regulators Group (AREGNET), and it was undertaken by Strategy Analytics, an independent consulting firm that specializes in tariff comparisons.
The study shows that the prices of telecommunications services in Bahrain continue to compare well with other GCC and Arab countries. Bahrain also improved during 2015 against developed countries that are members of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), comparing well particularly for fixed broadband and mobile broadband prices, which are lower in Bahrain than the OECD average.
The study also shows that the customers in Bahrain have benefited from a wide range of retail telecom services and more data at lower prices. For instance, mobile prices fell by up to 55% and fixed broadband prices fell by up to 85% between 2010 and 2015. The price of residential ADSL broadband with speeds up to 10 Mbit/s reduced from BD80 in 2010 to BD20 in 2015, and the data allowance increased from 50GB to 150GB. Furthermore, the study shows that residential customers in Bahrain are starting to enjoy the benefits of ultra-fast broadband (i.e. broadband with download speeds above 100Mbit/s).
These findings are supported by a separate report published recently, at the end of November, by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) titled Measuring the Information Society Report. This report finds that Bahrain made the most progress in the ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI) value between 2010 and 2015 among the 167 economies covered. The ITU also found that the fixed broadband services have become very affordable in Bahrain, where the fixed-broadband basket represents less than 2 per cent of GNI p.c. which is much less than the affordability target set by the internationally recognized Broadband Commission of 5% of average monthly income per capita.
Commenting on the result of the study TRA’s Director of Market and Competition Mohamed AlBinali, stated, “The results of the latest retail price benchmark study provides further evidence that competition in the telecommunications markets in Bahrain, which we actively promote as the telecommunications regulator, continues to deliver significant benefits to consumers. It is encouraging to see the fruits of this work emerging in the form of improved consumer broadband offerings, as well as in the form of increased in the consumer welfare.”
Mr. AlBinali continued to say that “TRA is proud that outcomes of the competition in Bahrain were recognized by the international organizations such as the ITU, particularly in the increase of the level of the affordability of the broadband as well as the progress in the value of the IDI and we are delighted that Bahrain leads the Arab countries in the IDI and has achieved advanced ranking globally and comparing well with developed countries.”