Bahrain elevated to highest level in ICT regulation

Bahrain amongst Arab countries, is ranked 2nd for pricings in regard to mobile broadband services

  

MANAMA: Bahrain has been elevated to the highest level in ICT regulation by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

For fostering affordability in ICT services, the kingdom’s regulatory environment has moved from the third to the fourth generation, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said in a statement yesterday.

According to the latest 2020 ICT Pricing Trends Report of Measuring Digital Development, issued recently by ITU, Bahrain elevates to the highest ranking.

The report verifies the variety of influences impacting the pricing levels for ICT services in a region; however, one governing influence on overall affordability is the resilience of a regulatory environment.

As found by the ITU study, Bahrain amongst Arab countries, is ranked 2nd for pricings in regard to mobile broadband services, as it maintains affordable fixed broadband rates yet a large-scale data capacity.

In addition, Bahrain’s mobile broadband prices account for 1.51 per cent of gross national income (GNI) per capita, whereas fixed broadband prices account for 1.82pc of GNI per capita, which is below the UN affordability target, therefor allowing Bahrain to meet and outperform the Sustainable Development Goal target before 2025, holding prices below 2pc of GNI per capita.

Shaikh Nasser bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, acting general director of TRA, said the achievement validates the kingdom’s advancements in both the field of telecoms, and excellence of enabling environment of digital transformation.

He added: “The regulatory environment’s resilience is a significant facilitator of both ICT adoption and price reduction. Regulators in this sector play a significant role in safeguarding consumers benefits through regulating competitiveness between operators. Regulators also impact market structure and competitiveness through awarding licences, allocating and designating spectrum, facilitating interoperability and infrastructure exchange, and regulating investment, among other things. A country ascends the regulatory ladder to a higher generation of ICT regulation as its regulatory environment matures.”

According to Shaikh Nasser, the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the critical necessity of connectivity.

He believes this will only expand in the coming years as the world copes with impact of the pandemic and embraces the ‘new reality’.

“However, continued monitoring of the growth of ICT pricing is crucial for quality management to tackle affordability gaps,” the official added.

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