Bahrain to auction third mobile licence

September 17th, 2008 - 5:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Sep 17 (IANS) Bahrain has announced that it will open up its mobile telecommunications sector to a third player and the tendering process will be opened within this year.A statement issued by Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) out of Manama said the TRA board has approved the award process and procedures for the auction for the third mobile licence, in accordance with the requirements of the country’s telecommunications law.

“The board had endorsed and formally approved the competitive award, by auction, of the third mobile licence, and has now approved the publication of the final tender documents,” Mohammed Al Amer, chairman of the TRA board, said in the statement.

“The board’s approval to publish the tender documents keeps TRA on track to complete the process by the end of this year,” he added.

As of now, Batelco, in which the Bahraini government holds a stake, and Kuwait’s Zain are the only two mobile services providers in that Gulf nation.

According to the TRA statement, the last date for submitting questions by potential bidders is Oct 16 this year. The deadline for receiving bids is Nov 13.

After reviewing the initial pre-qualification information submitted by the bidders, TRA will announce the names of the bidders who have passed the pre-qualification review Nov 18.

“The award process is designed to ensure that the previously stated aims set out in the Telecommunications Strategic Retail Market Review published (by TRA) earlier this year are met,” TRA general manager Alan Horne said.

“TRA expects the winning bidder to be an experienced international player capable of offering innovative and affordable mobile services, to strengthen competition in Bahrain and deliver tangible socio-economic benefits to the kingdom.”

Rob Middlehurst, TRA’s director for market and competition, said the auction would take the form of a multi-stage qualification process and a final financial round for suitably qualified bidders.

“In the interest of transparency, the tender documents contain all of details of the pre-qualification requirements, as well as the technical evaluation criteria and thresholds to be used for bid evaluation,” he said.

The tender documents have already been uploaded on the TRA website.

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