The total revenue and traffic for local and international calls has made a significant drop in favor of higher data consumption in Bahrain’s telecoms market for the first time since 2008, according to TRA Bahrain. Furthermore, traditional voice services receded in use by 17% between 2014 and 2015. It’s being expected that data revenues will overtake voice soon.
By the third quarter of 2016 there were, overall, 1.8 million mobile subscribers in the kingdom compared to 800,000 in 2012, an 89% leap in four years. Active mobile broadband subscriptions in the third quarter of 2015 accounted for 57%, growing to 64% one year later. “The popularity of mobile services is undeniable at this point. Innovation in addition to investment in telecoms infrastructure and services are key to realizing the potential of today’s mobile economy, " said Deputy General Director of TRA Bahrain, Sh. Nasser Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa. “There is a vast array of opportunities that Bahrain’s market can cultivate from this development. Data over mobile can and is starting to stimulate local trade, support small, medium and large businesses; by enabling citizens to make use of e- services, there is room for much more to be done, and it can all be done over your smart device.”
With the increasing popularity of smart devices, forecasts predict that mobile subscriptions may pass eight billion users globally as early as 2022, 4.1 billion of which will be made up of LTE subscriptions. This goes hand-in-hand with a trend the world is already witnessing; that the growth rate of data services is outpacing voice. It’s no surprise that a large number of telecom providers the world over are taking advantage of the opportunity by pairing their data packages with free unlimited voice calls. Mobile service providers are all converging around one idea: that mobile data services are a major economic growth driver. Countries around the world are reacting to this differently. China Mobile reports 46.2 per cent of their revenues are coming from mobile data. With the same trend in the US, companies are partnering to fast-track 5G development. In Australia, the prices of voice services have been driven down by consumer reluctance to tolerate higher prices, thus companies there see the need to invest in mobile data network upgrades. Similar trends are making themselves visible in the Kingdom of Bahrain, according to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s (TRA) Annual Market Indicators Report.