Telecommunications in Bahrain
Telecommunications in Bahrain prior to 1981 were operated by two separate departments, National services by the Bahrain Telephone Company and International services by Cable and Wireless of the UK. These were combined in 1981 when the Bahraini government founded the joint venture Bahrain Telecommunications Company. Since then, other companies such as Zain and VIVA have entered the telecommunications sector.
When Batelco was first founded in 1981, Bahrain already 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 enjoyed being a monopoly in the telecommunications sector for the next two decades. 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 broke when the TRA awarded a license to MTC Vodafone, which later re-branded itself as Zain. In January 2010, VIVA (a subsidiary of STC) started operations in Bahrain.
Telephones - main lines in use: 194,200 (2006)
county comparison to the world: 124
Telephones - mobile cellular: 1,116,000 (2007)
- 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.