Throughout 2014, the Licensing Department of the Technical and Operations Directorate underwent a number of internal processes designed to support the work of TRA teams and further enhance the local infrastructure for the telecommunications industry. Thus, the department worked to ensure only active licensees remained in the market, initiating revocation procedures for doubtful cases. This resulted in 12 licenses being revoked by the end of the year and the number of licensees fell by 18%. Importantly, and augmenting the direction of the Directorate, licensing KPIs were maintained covering the life cycle of the licensee - license issuance, annual license fees and license revocation. In line with this continued emphasis, the TRA recovered 97.2% of the outstanding amounts from 2004 to 2012 in annual license fees. Further enhancing TRA performance and local regulation, the licensing department embarked on the introduction of an automated licensing process during 2014. The Licensing Information Management System (LIMS) should automate all processes related to licensees internal and external affairs, providing ready access to reliable information for other departments within the TRA.
On the other hand, the Spectrum Management team of the Directorate focused its efforts during the year on spectrum regulation, the protection of telecom operators' wireless access and microwave networks as well as the review of telecommunication equipment and import controls. The team saw a vast increase in revenues collected from spectrum use by microwave links, having approved 1,158 of the 1,300 applications received from licensees. The TRA revenue in this regard culminated to BD 2,919,446.043 Notably, the speed at which applications for microwave links were processed also saw a marked improvement throughout the year - the team beat its target of 12 working days processing time as the average application processing time was 9.48 working days. These were important accomplishments for the department and the TRA's practice in Bahrain and understanding of market movements.
Similarly, the importation of telecom equipment and its processes were further facilitated during the year as the team developed a database for all telecommunication equipment imported into Bahrain since 2013 and provided detailed information to interested parties of the procedure involved on the TRA website. The transparent process and its timeline for execution was managed by the department who beat the application handling target of 7 working days due to the enthusiasm and efficiency of its staff - during 2014, the average handling time for applications was 2.95 working days. At the same time, the department further developed its processes to protect the general public from hazardous radiation. This was supported through the purchase of technical equipment which measures radiation levels and the introduction of regular TRA readings and the availability of the findings to the public. Further public support was managed by the department in relation to cases of interference. Team efforts were outstanding as 98% of reported interference incidents were investigated and successfully resolved within an average processing time of 10 days - marking a reduction in handling time of approximately 56%.
Bahrain infrastructure development and support last year could not have been accomplished without the added work of the Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) Department of the Technology and Operations Directorate. Overseeing the regulation of the national numbering plan and the number portability system in addition to the resources of the .bh domain name registry and the overall quality of service. The department managed the successful collection of numbering allocation fees from licensees, achieving an increase in income resulting in BD1,004,142 collected fees. At the same time, the ICT team closely monitored the number portability system in implementation by mobile operators and the team managed to make all the number portability recent statistics available on the TRA website. Likewise, the team kept a close eye on the critical KPIs relating to fixed number portability in order to safeguard the interests of business customers vis-a-vis operators. Ensuring fair competition and the meeting of consumer expectations, the team communicated with licensees seen to breach the target KPIs and supervised the market improvement for users. Finally, the team reviewed all domain name applications received, processing them within an average response time of 151 minutes, beating the 2014 target of 200 minutes.
Correspondingly, the Telecommunications Technical Office (TTO), which is responsible for enabling the deployment of enhanced and effective telecommunications infrastructure, has exerted tremendous efforts to process the telecommunications industry and other utilities applications to deploy infrastructure in a timely and efficient manner. The office managed to process 8,324 wayleave applications in an average of 2.59 days versus the 5 days KPI set by the Central Planning Office in the Ministry of Works.
Another role of the TTO that goes in line with the Kingdom of Bahrain's 2030 Economic Vision to promote the development of enhanced telecommunications networks in residential and business properties, the TTO issued a public consultation on a position paper related to in-building telecommunications access facilities. The consultation was to seek stakeholders' feedback that ensures developers contribute to the provision of rights of way and passive infrastructure in order to sustain the attractiveness of these developments, which ultimately leads to effective and fair competition amongst licensed operators providing telecommunications services for consumers inhabiting these buildings.
GRANTED SERVICE LICENSES AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2014
Access Telecommunication W.L.L
Al Gazal Telecommunications Co. W.L.L
Ascentech Technical Services
Atyaf Telecommunications & Infrastructure Bahrain W.L.L
Bahrain Broadband Company W.L.L
Bahrain Internet Exchange
Bahrain Telecommunications Company B.S.C (Batelco)
BT Solutions Limited - Bahrain Branch
Business Communication Networks
Circletel Consultancies Company W.L.L
Elephant Talk Bahrain WLL
Equant Global Network - Foreign Branch (EGN BV)
Etisalcom Bahrain Company W.L.L
Gateway Gulf Company B.S.C (Closed)
Golden Sands Electronics and Phone
Golden Star Telecommunications W.L.L
Gulf Electronic Tawasul Company
Hawar Telecommunications Company W.L.L
Kalaam Telecom Bahrain B.S.C. (Closed)
Kasiopia Net Com - KNC (Bahrain) W.L.L
Kulacom Communication S.P.C
Kuwait Establishment General Trading and Contracting
Lightspeed Communications W.L.L
MADA Communication Company S.P.C
Media Phone Plus General Trading
Mena Business Services (Foreign Branch)
Mobile Information Services
Mobitel Communication W.L.L
Moving Gulf Telecom W.L.L
North Star Technology Company W.L.L
Nuetel Communications S.P.C
Orbit Data Systems Company W.L.L
Rawabi Al Bahrain Company W.L.L
Red Moon Communications S.P.C
"Reliance Globalcom Limited - Branch Office (formerly Flag Telecom Group Limited)"
Star Gate Telecommunication W.L.L
Viper Networks (formerly Fastelco Services Company W.L.L)
Vodafone Enterprise Bahrain W.L.L (formerly Cable & Wireless Worldwide Bahrain W.L.L)
Zain Bahrain B.S.C (Closed)
Zajil Information Technologies International W.L.L
LICENSEES : 55
Internet Exchange License - IEX
Individual License for International Telecommunications Facilities - IFL
Individual License for Mobile Telecommunications Services - IMTL
Individual License for International Telecommunications Services - ISL
Class License for Internet Services - ISP
Individual License for National Fixed Services - NFL
Individual License for National Fixed Wireless Telecommunications Services - NFWL
Class License for Value Added Services - VAS
Individual License for Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) - VSAT