Over the past five years, Bahrain This Month has written regularly about the state of the telecommunications market in the Kingdom. While the fireworks in the earlier years have given way to a period of relative calm, that looks about to change.
In some respects 2011 is a make or break year; it is set to be a tipping point. There are critical policy decisions to be made that will significantly shape the industry in the short- to medium-term, and perhaps, even the overall economy. In some quarters there is a renewed sense of optimism that the playing field will be a lot more level than it has been.
The developments that are driving this optimism are number portability, additional international connectivity, local loop unbundling and the release of the National Broadband Network (NBN) implementation strategy.
The comments from Veer Passi, Kalaam Telecom chief operating officer (page 86) suggest that, even after the wholesale price reductions demanded by the TRA from Batelco, VIVA offers competitive pricing in the wholesale market. It suggests a softer approach, where who is dominant or possesses market power is not the primary point of determination. Rather, it should be the presence of other operators in the market with equivalent dominance/power, who could balance out the market and keep it ‘in check’.