Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain

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The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the Kingdom of Bahrain, commonly known as the TRA is the official independent body recognized by the Government of Bahrain as the entity responsible for regulating the telecoms sector in the Kingdom.

Among the main areas TRA presides over are licensing, regulation & policy making, consumer protection, and technical operations.  The TRA was established in 2002, following the promulgation of Telecoms Law in the Kingdom, as stated in Legislative Decree No. 48 of 2002.

Vision & Mission[edit]

Vision

A communications environment that enriches the social and commercial fabric of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Mission

To develop a competition led market for the provision of innovative communications services, available to all, which: encourages sustainable, economically efficient investment; respects the interests of consumers; fosters ecologically friendly initiatives; and supports the social and commercial welfare of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

To continue to build as an exemplar regulator within the region through thought leadership and to be the employer of choice by: investing in our people to develop a professional, passionate team; transparency and fairness in operations; and adherence to quality assurance.

History[edit]

TRA Bahrain's Timeline


Activities[edit]

Mobile, Fixed Line and Broadband Regulation

TRA regulates the telecoms sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain. It outlines and enforces the conditions by which all mobile and fixed-line phone and broadband providers must abide. TRA carries out this activity through a number of legal instruments that stem from the Telecommunications Law of Bahrain, which was promulgated on October 23, 2002 as Legislative Decree No. 48 of the same year. The TRA, when determining to take measures that will have a material effect on a particular Telecommunications market, offer interested parties the opportunity to give their opinions as to such measures within a reasonable period. This is carried out in the form of public consultations, which it publishes and announces to allow any interested parties to submit their comments before a specified deadline. Consultations may lead to position papers, guidelines, decisions and/or determinations. Another legal instrument the TRA uses are orders, such as emergency orders where the TRA will demand an operator take a particular action on a basis such as anti-competitive activity, or an enforcement order on the basis of a breach of the Telecommunications Law, or access Orders to impose access obligations on a telecoms service operator who has ceased access of a particular service from consumers.

Market Research

TRA also performs market research as part of its operations. These come in the form of several activities including:

annual and quarterly market indicator reports which contain telecoms market information and analysis that contributes to TRA's efficient and effective regulation of the sector.

Market surveys which are performed to gain insight into consumer satisfaction levels and identify problem areas which require solutions through TRA's own regulatory powers or collaborative efforts with other entities.

Price Benchmarking studies and reports that shed light on price levels of different telecoms services compared to what is offered in other markets, and the impact of price changes on consumers.

Quality of Service reports that monitor the service levels offered by operators such as mobile and broadband.

Technical Operations

o  Licensing

‘Article 24 of the Law requires that an operator of a Public Telecommunications network providing telecommunications services requires a License. Individual or Class Licenses 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 licenses and ensuring compliance with applicable license conditions. In addition a Frequency License may also be required by an operator if the public telecommunications service to be provided requires the use of radio frequencies. Article 43 of the Law requires that all equipment connected to a public telecommunications network by means of radio requires a license, unless that equipment is covered by an operator’s Frequency License, 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’

o  Spectrum Management

Spectrum Management is the process of regulating the use of radio frequencies to promote efficient and effective usage from both a technical and economic perspective in order to gain a net social benefit. The term radio spectrum in the Kingdom refers to frequencies below 3,000 GHz which may be used for Radiocommunications purposes.

o  Type Approval

All Telecommunications Apparatus which connects directly to a Public Telecommunications Network and/or which is an intentional transmitter of radio waves shall be subject to the TRA's Type Approval requirements. Such equipment with an intentional transmitter of radio waves is referred to collectively as Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (RTTE). Local manufacturers, authorized importers, and licensed operators are the parties which are eligible to apply for equipment registration of RTTE

o  Numbering & Number Portability

One of the roles assigned to the TRA under Section 3.C.12 Duties and Powers of the Authority, is to prepare and maintain a National Numbering Plan and allocate numbers to operators in accordance with that Plan. The licences issued to the operators require that they maintain their own individual numbering plans and provide an annual numbering report to the Authority in compliance with the National Plan. This Plan provides a clear and unambiguous National Numbering Plan (the “Plan”) for the national telecommunications infrastructure, so that competing operators can configure their networks with confidence. The National Numbering Plan is applicable to all appropriately licensed telecommunications operators wishing to make use of the national resource of numbers. The Plan and its processes and strictures are mandatory on all such operators.

Consumer Affairs

TRA's consumer affairs arm has the dual pronged purpose of protecting consumers and raising awareness levels.

·      Consumer Protection

Based on TRA's Consumer Protection Regulation, TRA protects consumers from any breach in advertising, or in any product or service a licensed operator may offer. The Consumer Affairs Department investigates these breaches by providing consumers multiple channels to approach them to submit disputes. This includes a toll-free hotline 81188, an online consumer portal ( consumer.tra.org.bh) and email

·      Consumer Awareness

·      The TRA believes that awareness of consumers with respect to their rights and obligations is one of the vital tools to protect consumers and make the best out of the telecommunications services they subscribed for.

See also[edit]

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