Friday, January 02, 2009

Bahrain - roaming rules

Bahrain Issues New Instruction for Roaming Mobile Subscribers

­Bahrain's telecoms regulator has issued an order to the country's telecoms networks requiring them to offer more information about roaming costs when customers are overseas. As soon as the home network is aware that a customer is roaming overseas, they will be required to send a free SMS to their customer with details of the roaming costs for the country they are in.

So that the customer is not bombarded with messages when hopping between networks within the country - only one text message needs to be sent for all networks within the country.

Customers can opt out of receiving the messages if they want.

More interestingly, the customer care service offered by the operators must also now accept queries from customers by SMS and respond using the same channel.

The country's two current operators are Zain (formerly MTC Vodafone) and Batelco, and the regulator recently announced plans to auction off a 3rd mobile license.

Figures from the Mobile World show that the country ended H1 '08 with just over 1.34 million subscribers - which represents a population penetration level of 186% - if you ignore the large migrant and ex-pat population. Including them brings the population penetration level down to around the 98% mark. It is also worth noting that a recent survey by the Arab Advisors, found that around 15% of subscribers use two SIM cards.

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