The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) was established in 2002 as a consequence of a critical need for progress in the telecommunications sector. It saw the birth of the Telecommunications Law in Bahrain. Since then, the telecoms sector has witnessed significant transformation that coincided with the TRA’s development, and sincere endeavours were made to help enable telecommunication consumers who were also growing by the day.

Although enabling consumers has always been at the heart of the TRA’s mission, only 24% of those who responded to the consumer experience survey conducted in 2015 proved to know of the existence of the TRA. As such, the TRA has doubled its efforts to reach out to more consumers and ensure greater awareness of its existence in the telecoms market. In fact, 2015 witnessed considerable advances and initiatives aimed at further enabling, engaging and protecting consumers.

In 2013, the TRA set its ambitious vision for its Contact Centre, since then it has worked diligently towards solving consumer complaints and assisting consumers in registering any complaints with greater ease. In 2015, this vision was elevated further with the fully automated Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) launched on the TRA’s website. Consumers, in turn, could submit their complaints, enquiries, and suggestions in a fast and user-friendly manner and also obtain updates on the status of their cases.

Notably, following up on the success of the previous year, the TRA’s Contact Centre reported 4,407 received calls, an increase of approximately 5% from the previous year. The contact volume averaged around 380 contacts monthly. Despite the increase in calls, all the annual targets were achieved. The Abandoned Rate was maintained below the agreed KPI at 3%, and the Average Handle Time for the year was only 238 seconds while the Average Speed of Answer was as low as 7 seconds. These results were accomplished with a high quality performance of 94%.

Of its many roles as a regulatory authority, the TRA handles consumer disputes. To highlight this role, the TRA set out its awareness campaign to draw attention to its support services. The Authority considers it a mandatory part of its role to educate consumers about the ‘Hows’, ‘Whens’ and ‘Wheres’ of approaching the TRA.

This focus was concerned with creating an interactive relationship with consumers and the TRA was keen to provide an effective service and a prompt response to all complaints. Relatedly, 2015 witnessed the resolution of 369 out of 401 complaints received by the Consumer Affairs Directorate. Moreover, settling consumer complaints took only 18 days in 2015 compared to 35 days back in 2014; which reflected a huge enhancement in the performance from the previous year. In relation to complaints ranking, it should be noted that the billing complaints represented the largest percentage of 33% out of the total complaints received, while quality of service complaints represented 24%, roaming complaints 11%, contract issue complaints 9%, number portability complaints 5%, fraud complaints 8% and other issues at 10%.

In light of the fact that billing complaints represented a considerable concern to consumers, the TRA added a project to its agenda: to audit and review the billing and metering systems and procedures of the licensed operators. The project aims primarily at protecting consumer rights and ensuring the credibility of the operators. Furthermore, the TRA has also embarked on planning a number of initiatives with the purpose of developing a platform to monitor the quality of services provided to the consumer.

In conclusion, it is worth noting that the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority Contact Centre “Silah” performed exceptionally, holding a service satisfaction level of 94% in 2015. This reflected the TRA’s genuine efforts to listen carefully to consumers and build better communication with them.