Telecommunications in Bahrain
Prior to 1981 telecommunications services were provided by two separate departments: national services were provided by the Bahrain Telephone Company and international services by Cable & Wireless of the United Kingdom. These were combined in 1981 to form Batelco. Since then, other telecommunications companies have entered the market.
When Batelco was founded in 1981, Bahrain had 45,627 telephone lines in use. By 1982, the number reached 50,000. In 1985, the country's first fibre optic cable was installed. Batelco was a monopoly in the telecommunications sector until 2003. By 1999, the company had around 100,000 mobile contracts.
In 2002, under pressure from international bodies, Bahrain implemented its telecommunications law which included the establishment of an independent Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). In 2003, Batelco's monopoly over the sector ended when the TRA awarded a licence to MTC Vodafone, which later re-branded itself as Zain. In January 2010, Viva Bahrain, which later re-branded into Stc Bahrain (a subsidiary of STC) started operations in Bahrain.
In 2006, there were 194,200 telephones main lines in Bahrain.
- county comparison to the world: 124
In 2007, there were 1,116,000 mobile cellular contracts in Bahrain.
- county comparison to the world: 132
- general assessment: modern system
- domestic: modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly growing use of mobile cellular telephones
- international: country code - 973; landing point for the Fire-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, Middle East, Europe, and US; tropospheric scatter to Qatar and UAE; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; satellite earth station - 1 (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stations: 4 (1997)
Internet hosts: 2,621 (2008)
- country comparison to the world: 135
Internet users: 250,000 (2007)
- country comparison to the world: 124
- Report: Bahrain 2008. 2008. p. 153.