The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) was established by Legislative Decree No. 48 of 2002 promulgating the Telecommunications Law. The TRA is an independent body and its duties and powers include protecting the interests of subscribers and users, and promoting effective and fair competition among established and new licensed operators.
‘Article 24 of the Law requires that an operator of a Public Telecommunications network providing telecommunications services requires a Licence. Individual or Class Licences are available as per Articles 29 and 32 of the Law dependant on the telecommunications service to be licensed. TRA's Licensing Department is responsible for granting licences and ensuring compliance with applicable licence conditions.
In addition a Frequency Licence may also be required by an operator if the public telecommunications service to be provided requires the use of radio frequencies (see Articles 24 and 43 of the Law).
Article 43 of the Law requires that all equipment connected to a public telecommunications network by means of radio requires a licence, unless that equipment is covered by an operator’s Frequency Licence, as is the case for the three mobile operators Batelco, Zain and Viva and the National Fixed and National Fixed Wireless Service operators Bahrain Broadband (Greenisis), Mena Telecom and Zain.
This is not the case e.g. for Wireless Routers and devices in personal computers which connect to such routers. Since exemption from frequency licensing is not permitted by Law in the Kingdom, it is necessary for users of such devices to apply for a no-charge, on-line ‘light licence’. Please go to the ‘Applying for available Licences’ section of the web-site.’
TRA publishes documents from time to time to advise, consult, inform and regulate the public telecommunications sector. Documents referenced in other parts of the TRA web-site may also be applicable.
Document Title Link Public Telecoms on Ships and Aircraft Position Paper from TRA and DWLF&M concerning the provision of public telecommunications to aeronautical and maritime vehicles in the Kingdom of Bahrain Download Document Fixed Link Policy Under review As before
In an evolving market with rapidly increasing competition between service providers and choice for the consumer, certain controls must be applied in order to guide, inform and possibly restrain companies and individuals that wish to offer services for a profit.
Notification requirements for telecommunications companies
The TRA would like to remind all holders of licenses that they are required to notify and/or get TRA approval of any changes to their shareholdings and/or changes of control. The Telecommunications Law and the Mergers & Acquisitions Regulation require, among other, the following:
(a) Under section 29(g) of the Telecommunications Law, "Any Person that directly or indirectly acquires five percent or more of the equity of an Individual Licensee shall notify the Authority of such matter within seven days as of the date of his/its acquiring of such share"
(b) Under the Telecommunications Mergers and Acquisitions Regulation 2004, telecommunications companies are required to notify the TRA of all changes of control (on a lasting basis), prior to their implementation; these changes are conditional on clearance by the TRA. In particular, Article 5.1 provides: "A qualifying Transaction shall not be implemented... before its notification to the TRA and until either it has been declared compatible with this Regulation pursuant to a decision ... or the TRA fails to issue a decision pursuant to the timetable... in which case the Qualifying Transaction shall be deemed to be approved."
Anybody holding a license issued by the TRA should therefore be aware of the requirement to notify the TRA of, among other
- Acquisitions of 5% or more of the equity of an individual licensee and/or.
- Any and all changes of control on a lasting basis, in accordance with the notification requirements in the Mergers and Acquisitions Regulation.
In addition, any person acquiring 5% or more of the equity of an individual licensee, irrespective of whether s/he is a licensee, is required by law to notify the TRA of such acquisition
Please note that failure to notify the TRA, where required, may lead to the imposition of penalties and/or fines. Licensees are asked to ensure that their relevant departments and shareholders or prospective shareholders are aware of these requirements.