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Mobile data growing faster than voice in Bahrain

MANAMA, April 15, 2017

For the first time since 2008, total revenue and traffic for local and international calls has made a significant drop in favour of higher data consumption in Bahrain’s telecoms market, said a report.

Furthermore, traditional voice services receded in use by 17 per cent between 2014 and 2015. It’s expected that data revenues will overtake voice concurrently.

By the third quarter of 2016 there were, overall, 1.8 million mobile subscribers in the kingdom compared to 800,000 in 2012, an 89 per cent leap in four years, stated Bahrain's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in its report.

Active mobile broadband subscriptions in the third quarter of 2015 accounted for 57 per cent, growing to 64 per cent one year later, it added.

“The popularity of mobile services is undeniable at this point. Innovation in addition to investment in telecoms infrastructure and services are key to realizing the potential of today’s mobile economy,” remarked the deputy general director of TRA Bahrain, Sheikh Nasser Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa.

“There is a vast array of opportunities that Bahrain’s market can cultivate from this development. Data over mobile can and is starting to stimulate local trade, support small, medium and large businesses; by enabling citizens to make use of e- services, there is room for much more to be done, and it can all be done over your smart device,” he stated.

According to him, the mobile data services are changing the global telecoms landscape in a big way.

"With the increasing popularity of smart devices, forecasts predict that mobile subscriptions may pass eight billion users globally as early as 2022, 4.1 Billion of which will be made up of LTE subscriptions," noted Sheikh Nasser.

This goes hand-in-hand with a trend the world is already witnessing; that the growth rate of data services is outpacing voice.

Subscribers are displaying a clear preference to communicate over data-enabled services such as e-mail, instant messaging, VoIP, video chat and more as people depend on the diversity of functions a consumer can perform over a smartphone, he stated.

It’s no surprise that a large number of telecoms providers the world over are taking advantage of the opportunity by pairing their data packages with free unlimited voice calls, he added.

According to TRA, mobile service providers are all converging around one idea: that mobile data services are a major economic growth driver.

Countries around the world are reacting to this differently. China Mobile reports 46.2 per cent of their revenues are coming from mobile data. With the same trend in the US, companies are partnering to fast-track 5G development.

In Australia, the prices of voice services have been driven down by consumer reluctance to tolerate higher prices, thus companies there see the need to invest in mobile data network upgrades, it stated.

Similar trends are making themselves visible in Bahrain, according to the TRA's Annual Market Indicators Report.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | TRA | mobile data | Voice |

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