Ericsson, the world-leading provider of communications technology and services, marked the 35th anniversary of its first contract in the Kingdom of Bahrain by hosting a celebratory reception and gala dinner for key stakeholders from the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, held under the patronage of His Excellency Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of State for Communications.
Ericsson has been a key contributor to the development of Bahrain’s telecoms sector since commencing its operations in the Kingdom in 1978, with the deployment of a fixed network. Since then, Ericsson has played an important role in ensuring that Bahrain sits at the forefront of the mobile industry’s technology evolution, beginning with the installation of the first mobile network (GSM) and 3G/3.5G mobile network in 1995 and 2007 respectively, and continuing right up to the installation of LTE/4G mobile networks in 2013. The company has recently doubled the size of its team in Bahrain, and introduced a new programme to attract local talents and train new graduates on the latest technology trends.
In other industry news, Batelco Group, the Bahrain-based international telecommunications company with operations across 14 countries, was last week presented with the award for the Telecom Deal of the Year at the annual CommsMEA Awards ceremony, for its acquisition of CWC (Cable & Wireless Communications) interest in Dhiraagu (Maldives), Sure Channel Islands and Isle of Man and CWC operations in Falkland Islands, St Helena, Ascension and Diego Garcia (“SADG”).
H.E. Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation and Acting Chief Executive of the EDB, said: “The Kingdom has long been regarded as the Gulf’s technological pioneer. With its open and forward-thinking approach, Bahrain has proven to be an ideal testing ground for the introduction of new technologies to the region and the Kingdom has experienced a fast rate of innovation, and we are delighted that these factors have helped Ericsson enjoy such success over the past 35 years. The EDB would also like to congratulate Batelco on its recent award, demonstrating how the company has built on the strong platform established in Bahrain, and evolved since the market was deregulated in the Kingdom to expand its operations internationally.”
Bahrain offers the Middle East’s only deregulated telecommunications market, and excellent telecommunications infrastructure; with fibre optic cable links to the rest of the Gulf and fast internet download speeds. In addition there are strict intellectual property laws to protect intellectual capital and create the conditions needed for software development outsourcing, which is why many leading international ICT businesses choose to take advantage of Bahrain’s favourable business environment and base their Middle East enterprises in the Kingdom. As well as Ericsson, companies such as Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Huawei, Kalaam Telecom, Lightspeed, Menatelecom, Microsoft, 2Connect, Viva (Saudi Telecom), Software AG, Tech Mahindra, TATA Consultancy Services, WIPRO and Zain all have offices in the Kingdom.
The 2012 TRA Annual Report announced that the telecommunication sector revenue reached BD 406 million in 2011, with the sector experiencing a compound annual growth rate of 10% between 2006 and 2011. The number of mobile subscribers had risen to 1.9 million by the end of August 2012 – which represents 158% of the population.There are currently 2,700 employees working in the telecommunications sector, with 28% of employees being female.