The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has proudly established itself as a forward thinking authority. The events and workshops organised during the year reflected the new telecom awareness that the TRA is trying to escalate. Additionally, the TRA endeavoured to educate the public sector on its role.
Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications’ Delegation
The TRA headquarters received a delegation from the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications to illuminate the TRA’s role in the Kingdom’s telecommunications sector and familiarise the Ministry with the TRA’s internal operations.
Kuwaiti Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA)’s Delegation
The TRA received a further delegation, on this occasion from CITRA Kuwait, to enable them to obtain knowledge regarding the TRA’s experience in developing the telecommunications sector in Bahrain and in particular in regard to promoting fair and effective competition between existing and potential licensed operators as well as protecting the interests of consumers.
The TRA briefed an inetrnational delegation from UN on its latest statistics and studies that benchmark the telecommunications sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain in comparison to its international peers. The visit was enriched with information on the TRA’s role in developing the sector and promoting competition to improve the quality of service, encourage investment and protect consumer interests as well as informing the UN regarding initiatives that confirmed the TRA’s position as an example of a leading regulatory authority. It’s worth mentioning that the delegation specializing in eGovernment services was hosted by the eGovernment Authority of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Culture of Transformation
Several years ago, the TRA began a journey of cultural transformation towards excellence, a journey that was crowned by success when the TRA won the 2014 Award of Excellence for institutional excellence and quality of performance. In 2015, the TRA continued its progress, commencing an initiative to transform the culture of the Authority. The first phase of this project concentrated on gathering information and identifying gaps. A visiting professor from BOND University, Dr. James R. Carlopio conducted the information gathering process, and met with key staff members of the TRA to ascertain the information necessary to move forward. This was followed by a 4-day workshop held in cooperation with Bond University. Transforming the culture of the Authority was crucial to its calibre because excellence is not simply to be indicated as a goal, but will form part of the TRA’s DNA. The findings concluded by Professor Carlopio resulted in the formation of a committee comprising representatives across the TRA. The committee will be dedicated to the continuous formulation and execution of projects that will help transform and improve the TRA’s culture, while constantly bearing the professor’s findings in mind.
Best Regulator of the Year’ Award
Given motivation is a welcome ingredient on any journey, the TRA received such a boost when for the 5th time, CommsMEA announced the TRA as the best regulator of year in the 10th edition of the annual CommsMEA Awards. This Award came in acknowledgement of the regulator’s accomplishments in cultivating an environment in which the telecommunications sector across Bahrain has been able to flourish. The regulator’s 5th award as best regulator was a hard-earned win given the renowned rivals in the region.
ISO 9001: 2008 Re-Certification Audit
Furthermore, the TRA announced that it had successfully passed the Re-Certification Audit against ISO 9001:2008 Standard and marks the third consecutive year in which the TRA has maintained the ISO 9001:2008 Certification.
‘Turning Bahrain into a Smart Digital Hub’ workshop
The success of the TRA as a local organisation reflects the bigger picture of a country with big ambitions. That is why “Turning Bahrain into a Smart Digital Hub” was the title and focus of a workshop led by the TRA on May 2015. Presenters Wietse Bloemzaad, Andreas Bülow and Santiago Castillo from Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, a leading advisory firm, prepared an agenda which involved discussions centered on Bahrain’s 2030 vision. The purpose of this workshop was to contribute to the knowledge of development and sharing at the TRA, as well as recognising the trends in the ICT sector that would allow the Authority to further achieve its objective of being a forward-looking and proactive regulator.
US-GCC Cyber Security Strategic Cooperation Forum
As part of its many activities during 2015, the TRA headed Bahrain’s Delegation to the US-GCC Cyber Security Strategic Cooperation Forum. The forum provided a platform to discuss and assess GCC countries’ cyber security readiness and explore possible areas of cooperation in developing policies and plans to protect critical infrastructure against cyber threats, promote information sharing on cyber issues and provide cyber security assistance. The forum also facilitated government-wide discussions on cyber issues, and the multilateral consultations for regional cooperation against cyber threats.
‘Impact of Globalization of Telecom on Regulatory Activities’ workshop
The TRA held a discussion on the factors affecting the telecoms sector around the world such as shifting the value chain, commoditisation of network operators and the topic of much global debate; Net Neutrality – was debated during its workshop held on the “Impact of Globalization of Telecom on Regulatory Activities” and attended by the TRA staff members. Given the significance of the topic, the Authority invited experts from Nova Management Consultants to speak at the workshop.
eGovernment IT Expo
The TRA participated in the Bahrain IT Expo 2015 held at the Bahrain International Circuit, as part of the 8th Bahrain International eGovernment Forum 2015 organised under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology. The participation in the Expo gave the TRA the chance to speak about its role and duties in regulating the telecommunications sector in Bahrain and handling consumer complaints. The TRA also showcased a selection of films about its achievements as well as an awareness-focused animation clip on child online safety.
‘Graduation Ceremony for Leadership’ course
The TRA headquarters witnessed a graduation ceremony to commemorate the successful completion of a 3-part course that involved key staff members. The course, in collaboration with Bond University based in the Gold Coast, Australia, revolved around developing the skills of the TRA staff in the areas of Leadership Behaviour, Strategic Management, and Dispute Resolution.
‘Technology, Media & Marketing Success’ conference
In line with its role in supporting telecommunication and technology conferences, the TRA sponsored the 2-day “Technology, Media & Marketing Success” conference as a Gold Sponsor. The conference was held under the patronage of Sh. Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chairman of Tamkeen. The conference aimed to encourage the use of social data to enhance a brand’s equity, enable the implementation of brand strategy on social media platforms, enable the marketing and sales team to get business deals through social media, benefit from the experience of the leading companies in various sectors and empower the companies to handle the technology boom.
‘Remedies for Non-Price Discrimination‘ workshop
The TRA organized a workshop which was delivered by Dr. Richard Cadman, Director of Strategy and Policy Consultants Network LtD. During the workshop, Mr. Cadman, delivered a summary of his Ph.D. thesis entitled “Remedies for Non-Price Discrimination: Their application in the UK broadband market and their effect on investment decisions”. The main goal behind conducing this workshop was knowledge sharing and awareness. Additionally, the workshop helped the TRA team in recognizing latest trends in the ICT regulation and specifically the remedies for non-price discrimination in the broadband market.
Dr. Richard Cadman, discussed these trends with the TRA staff through his thesis on thepractices of Ofcom and its approach to regulating the UK telecoms sector in the area of non price discrimination. The agenda included an economic background on non-price discrimination, a telecoms strategic review of Ofcom between 2004 and 2005, and empirical analyses on market entry via Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) and Next Generation Access.
‘Regulatory Drafting’ workshop
Charles Russell Speechlys, a top international legal firm with expertise in telecommunications law, hosted a workshop on the topic of “Regulatory Drafting”. The workshop agenda covered various interactive activities on the elements of contract and legal drafting as well as issues to consider when drafting decisions, the importance of legal background to any decisions, the structure and purpose of a decision, wider policy issues, fining and the risk of appeal.
‘Information Security Awareness’ course
The TRA’s staff members received their own share of training and activities in 2015. The TRA held a 2-day training course on the subject of ‘Information Security Awareness’. The course which was in collaboration with Stride IT Consulting, a full-service information technology consulting firm based in Bahrain, aimed at informing staff members with the latest best practices to safeguard them and their workplace from breaches of security.
‘Self Awareness’ course
Additionally, a 3-day training course was conducted on the subject of ‘Self Awareness’. This course was prepared by Al Moalem Institute and helped attendees explore and identify key factors that influenced their behavior; thus helping them realise their personal and professional goals. Staff members which were part of the training program took part in discussions and scenarios that helped them achieve a better understanding.
The policy of the TRA is not only to give education lessons, but also to engage employees. In this regard, a Staff Forum is held every quarter with the goal of providing an avenue of open, constructive communication and relationship building. This year, members of staff representing each directorate of the TRA openly discussed the progress of ongoing projects and shared in the year’s achievements and successes with respect to each directorate’s efforts. The main focus of this year’s forum was the importance of collective teamwork, transparency and highlighting the efforts required towards organizational culture transformation.
Contrastingly, leisure was occasionally on the agenda and the TRA hosted its annual Ghabga gathering celebrating the advent of the Holy Month of Ramadan where the TRA’s chairman and members as well as their families met. The annual ceremony featured entertainment programs and raffle draws with giveaways to the staff and attendees.
Al-Iman School’s First Technology Expo
The TRA’s participation extended to the First Technology Expo, which was organised by Al-Iman School and held under the patronage of the President of the Civil Service Bureau, Chief Executive Officer of Al-Iman School, Mr. Ahmed Al Zayed. The Expo was attended by 17 government and private entities. Taking part in the Expo gave the TRA the opportunity to educate parents and students about the ongoing “SafeSurf” campaign, which was launched by the TRA in 2013 to spread awareness among children about the dangers of surfing the Internet.