The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) published The Annual Market Indicator’s Report 2016 and first half of 2017, which highlights the continuing move towards data consumption.
This 2016 report reveals important trends in how citizens in Bahrain use telecommunication services; this data-driven shift is the most noticeable change that continues in occurrence during 2017.
As the number of mobile and fixed telephony services has dropped by 11% and 4% consecutively, between end of 2016 and first half of 2017, the broadband subscriptions only declined by 0.2% over the same period. That drop came after a huge jump of subscribers during 2016 due to zero rated packages introduced by telecom operators, which is the practice not charging end customers for data used by specific applications or internet services.
With 2.67 million mobile connections and population of 1.45 million the penetration rate reached 184%, the market became saturated and the growth rates have fallen to their lowest level during 2017. With more rationalized market structure, the number of new mobile subscriptions has decreased, while the level of competition between service providers has increased to attract ported subscribers by offering better customer service, network coverage, and service quality.
The fixed wired broadband subscriptions continued to rise due to increase demand on fiber connections.
Uptake of faster broadband services is on the rise as forty-eight per cent of all fixed broadband connections were able to receive access speeds of 10Mbit/s or more in 2016, up from thirty-six per cent a year previously. Conversely, packages with slower speeds have been declining in popularity.
At the end of first half of 2017, nearly 71% of mobile subscriptions have data subscriptions, up from 64% in 2016 and 57% in 2015. Uptake of faster data networks has gone hand-in-hand with increasing use of data services –average monthly data use per fixed wired broadband connection increased by 30% to 70.2 GB in Q4 2016 comparing Q4 2015, and average monthly data use per mobile broadband connection increased by 37% to 7.8GB over the same period.
This report shows that, in general, mobile and fixed line telephony revenues are holding up well, despite increasing use of ‘over-the-top’ internet services such as those provided by WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat.
“We are delighted to present the 12th consecutive edition of Annual Market Indicators Report covering 2016 and up to first half of 2017.” Says Sh. Nasser Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, Acting General Director of TRA. “This report provides a comprehensive overview of the evolving telecommunication environment in Bahrain, with a particular emphasis this year on the continued growth of internet subscriptions and data consumption. In the past year, data consumption increased by 53 percent to over 296.5 million gigabytes. TRA is committed to achieving the fourth National Telecommunications Plan (NTP) goals, as we work diligently with all concerned stakeholders to enhance the telecommunications infrastructure to increase coverage of the high-speed fiber-optic network and to ensure the provision of high-speed services at affordable prices, which will contribute to enhancing the Kingdom's economic development.”
Sh. Nasser further added that, “The objective of this report is to be a vital source to policy-makers, government entities, telecom operators, international bodies, and consumers; helping them to make informed decisions about the developments in the telecommunications sector in the kingdom. This report is one of the tools we use to monitor the developments in Bahrain’s telecommunication environment. TRA always welcomes feedback on these reports.”
To read further, viewers may log on to www.tra.bh and find the report under Market Indicators.Back to News Listing