At the helm

In today's digital world, individuals are using their mobile devices in different ways - as a tool for communication, data transfer, work aid, social networking etc. As a result, regulators are taking on new tasks every day - working to ensure services are developed on a nation-wide basis for sustainable and inclusive social and economic development. Committed to being a leader and exemplar at both the national and international levels, the TRA has overseen a vast growth in Bahrain's international connectivity and capacity.

GENERAL DIRECTOR
Statement

Last year was particularly eventful for the TRA as our efforts to protect the interests of telecommunications subscribers and users while promoting a sustainable competitive market were recognised internationally. Bahrain ranked the 1st in the Arab States and 27th globally in the ICT Development Index (IDI) published in the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) report, "Measuring the Information Society" and we were the only country from the Arab States region listed in the top 30 countries.

Notably, the TRA teams were particularly successful in organising the GSR-14 in Bahrain, hosting around 700 leading specialists from 113 countries worldwide. An important event in the global telecommunications calendar, attendees grappled with the many complex legal and public policy issues raised by today's increasingly interconnected and digital environment. This was a tremendous achievement for the TRA and our staff can only be commended for their dedication and forward-looking outlook.

Another satisfying outcome of the year's work was the result of our survey of residential users of telecommunications services in Bahrain. This revealed that more than 80% of customers are satisfied with their telecommunications services. Our staff too, a long term investment in their professional skills and growth, have described their satisfaction with the educational opportunities provided.

Cognisant of the changing challenges of the digital world, the TRA team will continue to work closely with the government and other stakeholders to address persistent issues related to Internet application services by providing guidelines to promote leading-edge services and responding to the needs of consumers and businesses. I am confident that our teams will continue to excel and that the TRA will continue to transform the regulatory environment in the region and beyond.

Mohamed Hamad Bubashait General Director
What differentiates TRA Bahrain from other telecom regulators in the region?

Consumers

Enabling consumers is at the heart of the TRA's mission, therefore the level of consumer engagement was further ascertained through electronic customer satisfaction ratings which reflected an evident improvement in the operations of the Consumer Affairs Directorate throughout the year with regards to consumer interaction.

Quality of Service

Quality of Service is among the pillars by which the TRA carries out its operations in its drive for excellence, and is a primary responsibility as set out in the Telecommunications Law. The TRA aims to ensure a high standard for Quality of Service in telecommunications is delivered to consumers in the Kingdom of Bahrain and to safeguard their interests. This is achieved by applying the best practices in industry monitoring and publishing regular reports, and the pursuit and execution of key initiatives.

Performance

As the recipient of the Best Telecom Regulator in the Middle East Award at the fifth annual Telecom Review Summit held in Dubai for 2014, TRA efforts have been widely recognized by industry veterans, government and regulatory officials alike. This recognition has been demonstrated throughout the year with further global reviews and awards.

Financial Statements

The Authority once again demonstrated its ability to outperform the telecoms market. Outstanding results of TRA's Financial Audit for 2013 revealed strong financial metrics, confirming the power of regulator's business model

Executive Management

TRA was established by Legislative Decree No.48 of 2002 promulgating the Telecommunications Law. Its duties and powers include protecting the interests of subscribers and users and promoting effective and fair competition between established operators and new entrants to the telecommunications market in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

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VISION

A communications environment that enriches the social and commercial fabric of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

MISSION

To develop a competition led market for the provision of innovative communications services, available to all, which: encourages sustainable, economically efficient investment; respects the interests of consumers; fosters ecologically friendly initiatives; and supports the social and commercial welfare of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

To continue to build as an exemplar regulator within the region through thought leadership and to be the employer of choice by: investing in our people to develop a professional, passionate team; transparency and fairness in operations; and adherence to quality assurance.

Values

  • Inspiring:

    Our imagination, clarity of thought and clear leadership stimulates innovative thinking that meets the needs of tomorrow.
    Commitment:Our drive and determination to achieve excellence, our discipline in the execution of our duties, our focus on the development of our team, and our sense of responsibility instil passion for the development of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

  • Respect:

    Our respect for each other is ensured by listening, collaborating and having consideration for each other, the public and licensees we work for, the environment and future generations.

  • Balanced:

    Our evidence based approach to decision making and our adaptability ensure that we remain proportionate, consistent, fair and just

  • Transparency:

    Our open and inclusive approach to regulation ensures that we are held responsible and our actions and decisions are understood.

TRA's Focused Strategy Framework

With the aim of achieving its mission and vision objectives, as well as ensuring it is moving in the right direction, TRA has designed a Focused Strategy Framework, which outlines the Authority's guidelines to create a communications environment that enriches the social and commercial fabric of the Kingdom of Bahrain. TRA will ensure its plans and initiatives are consistently implemented in line with the following strategic points:

  • F
  • O
  • C
  • U
  • S
  • E
  • D
  • Foster Competition:

    Initiatives and effectiveregulation that foster the continued growth and development of the telecommunication sector by way of effective and fair competition.

  • Optimised Technologies:

    Initiatives that encourage the adoption, deployment, and optimisation of the latest technologies that support the growth of the market and deliver higher quality of services to consumers.

  • Consumer Empowerment:

    Initiatives that provideknowledge and tools to empower the consumers and enrich their experience of the Telecommunications services and to allow them to make well-informed decisions.

  • Ubiquitous Broadband:

    Initiatives undertaken to ensure that broadband services of high quality and competitive prices are available to all local stakeholders

  • Security and Cyber Safety:

    Initiatives that support a safe and secure telecommunications infrastructure to deliver highly reliable Electronic Communication Services.

  • Efficient Regulator:

    Initiatives that adapt,enhance, and update the framework, processes and tools used by the Authority in the implementation of its duties.

  • Dynamic & Effective Regulatory Framework:

    Initiatives undertaken to adapt regulations over time, with the aim of continuously reviewing, updating, and improving the telecommunication regulatory framework, and maintaining proportionate focus where necessary

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Chairman Message

While global market conditions remained challenging throughout 2014, the TRA continued to work under the regulatory framework of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), aligning its strategic objectives with the ITU's strategic plan. Our efforts have been recognised time and again as the World Bank positioned Bahrain at the forefront of Arab countries in terms of the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector. In particular, the World Bank confirmed that Bahrain is the only country in the region to have adopted a market structure and regulatory model similar to the European Union (EU) as well as is the only MENA country which has reached the mature stage in fixed and mobile broadband market development.

In today's digital world, individuals are using their mobile devices in different ways - as a tool for communication, data transfer, work aid, social networking etc. As a result, regulators are taking on new tasks every day - working to ensure services are developed on a nation-wide basis for sustainable and inclusive social and economic development. Thus, we are following the ITU-T's recommendations in relation to standardizations and Spectrum management including the allocation and assignment of telecommunications frequencies, performed in accordance with the ITU's radio regulations and other regulatory instruments issued by the ITU-R. At the same time, this past year we focused on consumer education and empowerment. Market competition in the sector in Bahrain has been healthy with telecommunications making a significant contribution to the country's GDP and consumers being enabled to select the services most suited to their needs from the wide range of available products and services.

In fact, during 2014, the telecommunications sector revenue amassed 430 million BD with approximately 3,100 employees. With around 2.3 million mobile subscriptions, Bahrain's mobile penetration rate has been assessed at 177%. The total number of broadband subscribers was around 1.8 million and the penetration rate represented 142%. Most importantly, our continuous customer engagement programmes and assessments found that 88% of mobile users, 90% of fixed line users and 92% of internet users were very satisfied with their services. Similarly, we oversaw a dramatic reduction in mobile, mobile broadband and fixed broadband prices in 2014 (65%, 25% and 32% respectively).

Committed to being a leader and exemplar at both the national and international levels, the TRA has overseen a vast growth in Bahrain's international connectivity and capacity. Today there are 6 international routes and the available capacity has increased from 22 Gbps in 2009 to 360 Gbps in July 2014. Our teams have streamlined the sector's processes as well, slashing the processing time for mobile number portability and fixed number portability requests - from 48 hours to 8 business hours and from 72 hours to 8 business hours respectively.

The TRA is determined to ensure that no licensee has a position of significant market power in the retail market for the supply of mass-market broadband internet access services from a fixed location. Going forward therefore, the TRA is working closely with the government on the development of the 4th National Telecommunications Plan (NTP). Based on the new NTP, the TRA's strategy will be revised and accordingly our working plan for the next three years will be developed. The key areas to focus on are the establishment of a national broadband network, assessment of the level of competition in different markets, a regulatory framework for Net Neutrality and OTT, convergence of ICT services, data protection, securing the telecoms infrastructure, and the development of a telecommunications spectrum plan for 2020 and beyond with the focus on LTE Advanced and 5G.

We will continue to regulate the sector and protect consumer interests in addition to promoting effective and fair competition amongst new and existing licensed operators. With a strong and well-informed team, we are well positioned to tackle new challenges and changing market conditions.

Dr Mohammed Ahmed Al Amer Chairman
What in your opinion does the future hold for the consumer and the role the TRA plays?

Board of
Directors

Dr Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Al Amer

Chairman

Sh. Hamad bin Moh'd Al Khalifa

Board Member

Mr. Tareq Abdul Jalil Al Saffar

Member

Colonel Riyadh Eid Abdulla

Member

Mr. Isa Abdulrahman

Member

The Board of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA)

is appointed by His Majesty, King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, under Royal Decree based on a proposal from the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

EXECUTIVE
MANAGEMENT

TRA Organisational Structure at the end of 2014

TRA was established by Legislative Decree No.48 of 2002 promulgating the Telecommunications Law. Its duties and powers include protecting the interests of subscribers and users and promoting effective and fair competition between established operators and new entrants to the telecommunications market in the Kingdom of Bahrain. TRA carries out its duties independently and in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner. The Board of Directors oversees the activities of TRA. The General Director, Mr Mohamed Hamad Bubashait, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Authority.

The General Director is appointed by His Majesty, King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, based on the recommendation of the Board of Directors of TRA and proposal of the Council of Ministers.

  • Mohamed bin Hamad Bubashait

    General Director
  • Faisal bin Ali Aljalahma

    Director of Finance & HR
  • Mohammed bin Abdulla Alnoaimi

    Director of Technical & Operations
  • Mohamed bin Yousif Al-Binali

    Director of Market & Competition
  • Dr. Khalid bin Duaij Al Khalifa

    Director of Cyber Security
  • Sh. Abdulla bin Humood Al Khalifa

    Director of Consumer Affairs
  • Dr. Jean Pierre Scerri

    Acting Director of Legal Affairs
  • Taiba Mohammed Albinali

    Head of Media and Communications
  • Basil Habib Alarrayed

    Head of Corporate Branding
  • Mohammed Nasser Ali

    Chief Internal Auditor

As the regulatory body within the Kingdom, the TRA takes its responsibility to protect consumers' interests and support their experience very seriously.

Consumer

Empowerment

As the regulatory body within the Kingdom, the TRA takes its responsibility to protect the consumers' interests and support their experience very seriously. As such, 2014 saw considerable advances in the handling of consumer complaints, enquiries and suggestions: from reducing the number of days it takes to resolve 90% of complaints from 45 days to 30 days which represent 33% enhancement in the process of complaint management.

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Also, the introduction of advanced automated processes, enhanced consumer services and the sourcing of relevant information in a timely manner, which are all the result of parterning with an effective and award-winning call centre with an emphasis on performance, operational excellence and innovation, a considerbale improvement in consumer engagement was achieved.

It is notable that the TRA Contact Centre was consistent in achieving operational KPIs of such high standards such as an average speed of 8 seconds to answer consumer calls and an average of 92% in answering calls within 20 seconds. It is notable that the number of calls made to the TRA Contact Centre was consistent throughout the year with an average of 270 calls per month. These are expected to increase however as the authority looks to increase consumer empowerment and engagement over the coming year with increased communication channels from Chat and Email to Fax and Video engagement.

Enabling consumers is at the heart of the TRA's mission, therefore the level of consumer engagement was further ascertained through electronic customer satisfaction ratings which reflected an evident improvement in the operations of the Consumer Affairs Directorate throughout the year with regards to consumer interaction. The TRA Contact Centre followed up the complaints of callers by initiating calls and engagement, providing callers with updates about their cases and its resolution. Accordingly, callers shared positive feedback about the continued exercise and reliable support.

As a result of TRA commitment to the continuous enhancement of its mandate, the Consumer Affairs Directorate also underwent an important restructuring programme at the end of 2014 in which three specialist teams formed separate departments, namely Consumer Support, Consumer Protection and Consumer Empowerment with the common goal to better serve consumers in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Determined to represent the voice of consumers, the new departmental divisions focused on three key areas: consumer-operator relations and support; regulation development; and consumer education. In line with the 2-year development plan set forth that year, the Directorate's mission in 2015 is clear with a focus on consumer engagement and empowerment through nationwide awareness campaigns as well as improved consumer dispute regulation. In this way, consumer, complaints and mediation procedures should be further streamlined.

The Consumer Affairs Directorate objective of enhancing the consumer experience in the telecommunications sector was achieved by proactively protecting their rights, engagement, education and empowerment of the consumer.

Consumer

Engagement

The Consumer Affairs Directorate objective of enhancing the consumer experience in the telecommunications sector was achieved by proactively protecting their rights, engagment, education and empowerment of the consumer through an effective channel of redress was most successfully accomplished through the TRA contact centre during 2014.

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As consumer awareness was gradually improved throughout the year, the inbound call volume increased by 123% in the latter half of 2014. In fact, overall call volume is expected to amplify in the coming year through the TRA's pursuit of a proactive educational campaigns across all media channels. At the same time, the call centre exceeded expectations in consumer engagement consistently during the year.

Callers' narratives, descriptions of issues of concern and complaints were heard at length, logged and furthermore, processes were explained clearly by the handlers. Call agents were well trained and commended by the TRA for their efficiency and maintenance of a 8 second average speed of call answer in the past year, despite a generous target average of 20 seconds. It is important to note that the vast majority of calls received represented cases of 'Overcharged Bills and Invoices,' of which 125 were complaints handled by the TRA and 604 calls were enquiries for further information and clarity. The second most common consumer concern received were calls that discussed 'Coverage' of which a small minority of cases (66) were complaints and the majority (244) represented enquiries. As the regulator of telecommunications in Bahrain, the TRA's commitment to consumers and the maintenance of a responsive dialogue was truly enhanced by the TRA Contact Centre and the dedication of the Consumer Affairs team.

In addition, public and industry engagement during the year was supplemented by the workshops and events organized by the ICT department of the Technical and Operations Directorate. Thus, the Internet Corporation for Number and Names (ICANN) Bahrain Roadshow was designed to improve public awareness of internet governance and the model of multiple stakeholders while the IPv6 Roadshow was organized to develop the technical knowledge of local operators' network engineers. Similarly, an LTE Industry Update by Huawei was conducted for local operators to increase their knowledge of industry trends and the best practices of LTE deployments and a workshop entitled The Future of IP eXchange in Bahrain and the GCC was run to update and brief local operators on the outcomes of the study conducted to promote Bahrain as a regional IPX hub. Fluctuating from greater public understanding initiatives to industry-specific reviews, the workshops and roadshows were varied and immensely successful. The TRA continued to engage with its different stakeholders and audiences in 2014, responding to public needs and leading the application of the latest trends in telecommunications in the Kingdom.

The competition legal framework and the Reference Interconnect Offers of mobile operators were assessed and further refined. These fundamental accomplishments have been driven by the importance of safeguarding consumer interests, ensuring transparent dealings and promoting fair and equitable agreements.

Consumer
  • TRA Child Online Protection Challenge
  • TRA Child Online Protection Challenge
  • TRA Child Online Protection Challenge
  • TRA Child Online Protection Challenge
  • TRA Child Online Protection Workshop
  • TRA Child Online Protection Workshop
  • TRA Child Online Protection Workshop
  • TRA Child Online Protection Workshop
  • TRA Child Online Protection Workshop

Protection

A core component of the activities of the TRA, both internally and externally, is the Legal Affairs Directorate, whose mandate is to provide timely, accurate and first class legal advice to the TRA in addition to ensuring that the Authority acts within its powers in order to achieve its objectives with external entities in the telecom and government sectors. During 2014, the team grew further as more specialised members joined the organisation, thereby strengthening the underlying legal expertise and support abilities. The Legal Affairs Directorate processes were enhanced while the licensing framework was reviewed and improved for legal certainty. Also, the competition legal framework and the Reference Interconnect Offers of mobile operators were assessed and further refined. These fundamental accomplishments have been driven by the importance of safeguarding consumer interests, ensuring transparent dealings and promoting fair and equitable agreements.

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As a result, the Reference Interconnect Offers now provides further clarity and legal certainty about the terms under which dominant operators offer their services to other telecommunications providers, thereby ensuring market fairness and fostering competition in the interests of consumers. Additionally, the year saw the Directorate adopting the Dispute Resolution Guidelines, the review and amendment of the Bulk SMS Regulation and the review and redrafting of the Prepaid SIM Card Regulation. Notably, the Dispute Resolution Guidelines set out important principles concerning the disputes between operators; as well as the complaints against licensees in respect of a breach of the Telecommunications Law, regulations or their own licenses. Under these Guidelines, the TRA acts as a mediator between the parties before taking on the role of an arbitrator. Accordingly, industry processes have been improved and efficiency and legal certainty have been further promoted. In the coming year, the Directorate plans to collaborate with the Cyber Security Directorate to develop, among other things, the industry's cyber security legal framework after a comprehensive analysis of the models adopted in other jurisdictions. The Directorate will continue to invest in internal learning and development opportunities for its staff in pursuit of its vision to be a star legal advisory recognized by its peers and the industry at large for the quality of its work.

Similarly, in its efforts to enhance and manage risks to the electronic communications networks and services, the Cyber Security Directorate initiated and completed a milestone study aimed at identifying vital measures and mechanisms for improving the security and reliability of critical telecommunications infrastructures. The study helped the team develop a methodology that would enable the Directorate to identify critical components in the telecommunications infrastructure as well as to assess the risk to the identified critical components in the national telecommunications infrastructure. In the coming year, the Directorate intends to work with licensees to ensure that the Kingdom's infrastructure is safeguarded and that business continuity and disaster recovery plans are put in place so that essential telecommunications services can be maintained in the face of identified threats.

As part of the TRA emphasis on consumer protection and child safety, the Cyber Security Directorate also oversaw initiatives to review and raise awareness of online safety, launching the first online safety media campaign and the SafeSurf website. With dedicated social media accounts, SafeSurf has underpinned much of the Directorate's direction throughout the year with increased consumer dialogue and outreach. Successful public initiatives have included the Child Online Protection Challenge, or COP, which took place during the latter half of the year. Beginning with a dedicated workshop in partnership with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the ITU-Regional Cyber Security Centre (ITU-RCC) and ITU-IMPACT designed to facilitate capacity building and awareness amongst local policy makers and experts within both the private and public sectors, a COP challenge targeting young children was held in partnership with the ITU and the General Organisation for Youth and Sports, GOYS, in the Shaikh Salman Centre on 20th November, marking Universal Children's Day. Primarily targeting children between the ages of 11 and 14, the event was organized to raise awareness of online safety issues and to allow children to understand how to utilize the internet responsibly. Parents and caregivers as well as younger children were encouraged to participate in the team building exercises and learn about best online practices. Such initiatives which hinge on public support and learning underpinned the tasks of the Cyber Security Directorate during 2014, combining technical and regulatory expertise. Children and caregivers form an indispensible part of the TRA audience, representing the consumers of the future, whose interests must be safeguarded as much as possible through intensive education programmes going forward.

'We initiated our cooperation with the TRA after I attended one of their online safety workshops. For the COP Challenge, the children at the GOYS Salman Cultural Centre prepared their group projects related to the subject - in line with their programmes, such as IT, theatre, art or music - and they presented their work during the event. The Challenge was very effective; the participating children now have a clear idea of what virtual safety means.' Muneera, GOYS.

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.

Quality of Service
    • Fixed Broadband
    • Mobile Broadband

    Proportion of broadband subscribers by access type at the end of 2014

    * Fixed (Wired and Wireless)

Infrastructure Support

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.

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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

Licensee
VAS
ISL
ISP
IFL
NFL
NFWS
IMTL
VSAT
IEX
2Connect W.L.L
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
Cellucom W.L.L
Circletel Consultancies Company W.L.L
Digi Connect S.P.C
Elephant Talk Bahrain WLL
Equant Global Network - Foreign Branch (EGN BV)
Etisalcom Bahrain Company W.L.L
First Connex Gulf 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
iCOL Plus W.L.L
IMC Telecom 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)
Mena Telecom W.L.L
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
Rapid Telecom 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)"
SITA
Skyfi Networks W.L.L
Smart Marketing Company
Star Gate Telecommunication W.L.L
Tasameem Establishment
ViaCloud W.L.L
Viper Networks (formerly Fastelco Services Company W.L.L)
VIVA Bahrain B.S.C
Vodafone Enterprise Bahrain W.L.L (formerly Cable & Wireless Worldwide Bahrain W.L.L)
Voice Stream S.P.C
Zain Bahrain B.S.C (Closed)
Zajil Information Technologies International W.L.L
LICENSEES : 55
43
37
30
19
14
2
3
2
3

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

Underpinning the work and evolution of the TRA has been its commitment to the development of its human capital and the improvement of its financial and information technology services.

Performance

Seamless Growth

Underpinning the work and evolution of the TRA has been its commitment to the development of its human capital and the improvement of its financial and information technology services. Thus, providing a conducive working environment for personal growth has been a key component of the work of the Finance and Human Resources Directorate who oversaw the completion of the Leadership Development Programme in collaboration with Bond University (Australia) in 2014. Over 20 members of staff from different departments within the Authority participated in the five-day programme which focused on Dispute Resolution, Leadership Behaviour and Strategic Management. Correspondingly, the Authority also invested heavily in the academic development of five of its staff through an all-expenses paid scholarship programme in some of the world's most prestigious universities and academic institutions including the likes of De Paul University and the University of Michigan in America.

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Encouraging staff innovation and competition, the Directorate also implemented the Performance Management Review System which evaluates the performance of employees by a levelling committee headed by the General Director. While 60% of the review is based on the extent to which principal objectives are accomplished, 10% is awarded for additional or support objectives while 30% of the review is based on staff creativity and innovation in problem-solving and overall performance. Nurturing a culture of excellence and high-level performance, the online evaluation system is rigorous and drives staff to maintain consistent results.

Similarly, the Finance and IT teams oversaw the automation of financial services across the TRA. Alongside the e-TRA project to automate all internal functions of the organization, the decision-making process was made more efficient and accelerated. Furthermore, ensuring that a paperless environment supersede previous practices, the Directorate was responsible for the introduction and implementation of a viable state-of-the-art technological infrastructure. This was in line with the team objective of ensuring that the TRA operate as an efficient regulator through its financial and human resources services in addition to its IT provisions and the importance of a culture of excellence.

Moreover, the TRA was distinguished further during 2014 when it became the first organisation in the Kingdom to be officially recognised and awarded by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) for Commitment to Excellence. Marking the excellent business environment fostered within the Authority and its culture of transformation, the TRA's unprecedented achievement distinguishes it from both public and private organisations in the country.

  • Mobile
  • Fixed Line
  • Mobile IDD
  • Fixed IDD
  • Other IDD
  • Internet Services
  • Leased Line

Breakdown of retail services revenues in 2014

Performance

Market Competition

Throughout the year, the Market and Competition Directorate has continued working towards its objectives of assessing, designing and implementing effective market regulation. For instance, the TRA issued a Determination of Significant Market Power and a Determination of Dominant Position in the Markets for the Provision of Broadband Internet Access from Fixed Location and Markets for Domestic Data Connectivity. With regard to promoting effective and fair competition, the team reviewed the Reference Offers, the Accounting Procedures Manual, regulatory accounts and Notified Controlled Tariffs of the dominant market operators. Furthermore, in monitoring the telecommunications market performance, the Directorate prepared and published a number of important reports during 2014 alongside the Market Indicators Reports, Retail Price Benchmarking Study of Telecommunications Services in Arab Countries, a study commissioned on behalf of the Arab Regulators Group, and the Consumer Survey. Time and again, the TRA's analysis of market trends and developments have been utilized throughout the year for local and regional advancement within the industry. Its findings have been presented in a transparent manner and are widely accessible to end-users.

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In 2014, the TRA embarked on a comprehensive strategic market review of the telecommunications market in Bahrain. This strategic review supported the TRA's overall objectives, including the promotion of an effective and dynamic telecommunications sector as well as the important impact that the sector has on the economy and society at large.

Likewise, the TRA's participation in regional and international forums supported the exchange of knowledge and awareness about the issues facing the industry. Amongst the significant contributions was the TRA's involvement in the ITU-D Forum hosted in Kuwait in which a presentation was delivered on the Bahrain Bottom-up Cost Model Project, as well as the 8th Gulf e-Commerce Forum at which the team's domestic research on Mobile Commerce Enablers was presented.

One of the highlights of 2014 for the telecommunications industry and Bahrain came in the form of the 14th Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR14), which took place in the Kingdom under the auspices of the TRA.

Performance
  • TRA staff listening in on the sessions
  • GSR14 Gala
  • TRA General Mr. Mohamed Bubashait on the panel
  • TRA Staff in one of the sessions
  • A GSR14 Panel Discussion

Events

One of the highlights of 2014 for the telecommunications industry and Bahrain came in the form of the 14th Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR14), which took place in the Kingdom under the auspices of the TRA. Organised by the ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau and hosted by the Government of Bahrain, under the patronage of HRH Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister, the GSR14 saw the assembly of the largest gathering of the global regulatory community in Manama. Over 700 leading specialists from 113 countries registered to attend the event, which also attracted approximately 80 leading participants, including government ministers, heads of regulatory agencies and industry chief executives. An important show of confidence in Bahrain and the TRA, GSR14 was a landmark event for the industry on a global level as it allowed for a review and working discussions of telecommunications developments and futuristic planning in addition to the conclusion of supportive agreements.

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'GSR provides an unparalleled platform for sharing regulatory experiences and best practices... Efforts throughout the world to spearhead innovation and investment and protect consumer rights through the adoption of targeted ICT regulation will contribute to making the dream of a "digital world for all" a reality,' Dr Hamadoun I Tour, Secretary General, International Telecommunication Union.

'We would like to express our thanks to the organizer for this wonderful event, and for the generosity of the Bahrain nation,' international attendee of GSR14.

As the recipient of the Best Telecom Regulator in the Middle East Award at the fifth annual Telecom Review Summit held in Dubai for 2014, TRA efforts have been widely recognized by industry veterans, government and regulatory officials alike. This recognition has been demonstrated throughout the year with further global reviews and awards.

Performance

Leadership

As the recipient of the Best Telecom Regulator in the Middle East Award at the fifth annual Telecom Review Summit held in Dubai for 2014, TRA efforts have been widely recognized by industry veterans, government and regulatory officials alike. This recognition has been demonstrated throughout the year with further global reviews and awards.

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The TRA also managed to accomplish significant achievements in international leadership through the work of the International Telecommunications Union. During the World Telecommunications Development Conference 2014 (WTDC14) held in Dubai, UAE, during March and April, Mr Adel Darwish, Manager of Market and Competition, was appointed Vice-Chair of Committee 4 ("ITU-D Working Methods") and successfully led the working group on restructuring the ITU Development sectors study questions for the period 2015-2017.

Then, during the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014 (PP14) held in Busan, Korea during October and November, Mr Musab Abdulla, Manager of Strategy & PMO, was appointed as Chairman of the Working Group of the Plenary (WGPL) which dealt with the policy issues of the Conference and successfully completed all its work by consensus ahead of schedule.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) selected Bahrain as one of the Arab region's Centres of Excellence with a focus on Internet Governance for 2014-18. Centres of Excellence, or CoEs, represent regional focal points for professional development, research and knowledge-sharing in addition to providing specialist training for external clients.

On a regional front, the TRA has taken the lead in collaborating with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in developing region-wide market indicator statistics to enable decision makers to have a comprehensive understanding of the changes and progress made in the Gulf and hence, develop appropriate policies. In addition, the TRA has been leading the roaming regulation study for the GCC. With the TRA at the helm of the GCC Working Group, TRA representatives have been actively studying and analyzing the roaming market and its services.

Similarly, during 2014 the TRA has been at the forefront of the global development of the future of spectrum usage, playing a significant role in regional and international events focused on spectrum and frequency practice. At the same time, the organization has been heavily involved with several neighbouring states in the development of world class consumer protection measures. Leading regulation establishment and modeling endeavours, the TRA has distinguished itself time and again in the past year.

Opinion

In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Telecommunications Regulatory Authority as at December 31, 2014, and of its financial performance and its cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards.

Management's Responsibility

Management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of these financial statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards, and for such internal control as management determines is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatements, whether due to fraud or error.

Independent
Auditor's Report


The Board of Directors,
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority,
Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain.

Report on the Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying financial statements of Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (the "Authority"), which comprise the statement of financial position as at December 31, 2014, and the statement of excess of income over expenditure, statement of changes in accumulated funds and statement of cash flows for the year then ended, and a summary of significant accounting policies and other explanatory information.

Management's Responsibility for the Financial Statements

Management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of these financial statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards, and for such internal control as management determines is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatements, whether due to fraud or error.

Auditor's Responsibility

Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements based on our audit. We conducted our audit in accordance with International Standards on Auditing. Those standards require that we comply with ethical requirements and plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free from material misstatement.

An audit involves performing procedures to obtain audit evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. The procedures selected depend on the auditor's judgement, including the assessment of the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to fraud or error. In making those risk assessments, the auditor considers internal control relevant to the entity's preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the entity's internal control. An audit also includes evaluating the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements.

We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our audit opinion.

Opinion

In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Telecommunications Regulatory Authority as at December 31, 2014, and of its financial performance and its cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards.

Emphasis of Matter

We draw attention to Note 22 (ii) to the financial statements which describes the uncertainty related to the outcome of potential claims involving the Authority and two licensed operators and suppliers. Our opinion is not qualified in respect of this matter.

Report on Other Legal and Regulatory Requirements

In our opinion, the Authority has maintained proper accounting records and the financial statements have been prepared in accordance with those records. We further report that, to the best of our knowledge and belief, the financial information provided in the Board of Directors' Report is in agreement with the financial statements and based on the information and explanations provided by the management which were required for the purpose of our audit, we are not aware of significant violations of the relevant provisions of Law Number 48 of 2002 issued on October 23, 2002, having occurred during the year ended December 31, 2014 that might have had a material effect on the business of the Authority or on its financial position.

Manama - Kingdom of Bahrain
April 28,2015

 

Financial Statements

Statement of Financial Position as at December 31, 2014

Notes
2014 (BD)
2013 (BD)
Assets
Non-current asset
Plant and equipment
5
34,552
388,022
Current assets
License fees receivable and other assets
6
3,023,524
4,038,186
Cash and bank balances
8
24,346,141
29,236,232
Total current assets
27,369,665
33,274,418
Total assets
27,404,217
33,662,440
ACCUMULATED FUNDS AND LIABILITIES
Accumulated surplus
9
19,659,098
29,601,855
Total accumulated funds
19,659,098
29,601,855
Liabilities
Non-current liabilities
Provision for employees' end-of-service benefits
10
17,305
43,573
Deferred license fee
11
7,226,065
3,412,263
7,243,370
3,455,836
Current liabilities
Trade payables and other liabilities
12
501,749
604,749
Total liabilities
7,745,119
4,060,585
Total accumulated funds and liabilities
27,404,217
33,662,440

The financial statements were approved and authorised for issue by the Board of Directors on April 28, 2015 and signed on its behalf by:

 

Financial Statements

Statement Of Excess Of Income Over Expenditure For The Year Ended December 31, 2014

Notes
2014 (BD)
2013 (BD)
License fees
13
4,274,584
20,926,291
Frequency and spectrum fees
5,430,603
4,127,295
Numbering fees
1,002,993
902,365
Other Income
14
1,147,132
784,741
Income
11,855,312
26,740,692
Staff costs
15
(1,887,255)
(1,756,995)
Board of Director's remuneration
7.1
(39,430)
(40,000)
General and administrative expenses
16
(947,065)
(910,316)
Consultancy and legal fees
17
(1,411,644)
(1,754,571)
Publicity and promotions
(359,254)
(70,456)
Depreciation
5
(209,843)
(241,684)
Other charges
18
(845,430)
-
Expenditure
(5,699,921)
(4,774,022)
Excess of income over the expenditure for the year
6,155,391
21,966,670

 

Financial Statements

Statement Of Cash Flows For The Year Ended December 31, 2014

2014 (BD)
2013 (BD)
Cash flows from operating activities
Excess of income over expenditure for the year
6,155,391
21,966,670
Adjustments for:
Depreciation expense
209,843
241,684
Provision for employees' end-of-service benefits
13,219
43,896
Provision for bad and doubtful debts
671,634
-
Write-off of capital work-in-progress
173,796
-
Derecognition of accruals and payables
(153,163)
-
Amortisation of deferred revenue
(936,760)
(268,018)
Reversal of provision for employees' end-of service benefits
(3,503)
-
6,130,457
21,984,232
Changes in operating assets and liabilities:
Decrease in license fees receivable and other assets
343,028
3,575,515
Increase / (decrease) in trade payables and other liabilities
50,163
(4,092,335)
License fees received in advance
4,750,562
3,680,281
Cash from operations
11,274,210
25,147,693
Payment of employees' end-of-service benefits
(35,984)
(44,807)
Net cash from operating activities
11,238,226
25,102,886
Cash flows for investing activities
Increase in term deposits with banks
(4,246,039)
(10,394,451)
Purchase of plant and equipment
(30,169)
(72,296)
Net cash used in investing activities
(4,276,208)
(10,466,747)
Cash flows for financing activity
Transfer made to the Ministry of Finance
(16,098,148)
(15,158,119)
Net cash used in financing activity
(16,098,148)
(15,158,119)
Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents
(9,136,130)
(521,980)
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of the year
13,482,271
14,004,251
Cash and cash equivalents at end of the year (Note 8)
4,346,141
13,482,271