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BAHRAIN

  • "The Ministry of Transportation and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority announce the Spectrum Policy for the Kingdom of Bahrain" - joint MoT/TRA press release, 27 June 2006. An English version of the table of frequency allocations table is here, and the English version of the spectrum policy is here. See below for earlier versions and consultation documents. Some relevant quotes from the June 2006 policy statement:

    "3.3 - Licence-exempt spectrum is not permitted in Bahrain under the current Telecommunications Law... Spectrum bands in which a light licensing regime will apply are designated in the following chapters of this document. In these bands, all users of spectrum, including service providers, retailers and end users, will have to obtain a 'light' licence...

    "At present there is a conflict of use in the 2.4 to 2.5 GHz part of the spectrum - a situation the TRA and MoT are keen to resolve. In line with international standards, the 2.4 GHz band (2.4000 - 2.4835 GHz) in Bahrain has been allocated to ISM use. However, an MMDS licence has also been assigned in this frequency band, and most of the spectrum in this band is currently being used by the government... The TRA and MoT believe that the 2.4 GHz band should be reserved for WiFi applications, and that current governmental usage of this band should be phased out... In the long term, all users with stringent quality of service requirements are advised to migrate to other parts of the spectrum... The TRA will... issue licences using a light licensing scheme along the lines established in section 3.3... All users will have to be licensed..."

  • "Regulation on the Light Licensing Regime for the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency spectrum bands," 31 July 2006. Click here to apply online for a license.
  • "TRA issues 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Frequency Licensing Regulation," AMEInfo, 31 July 2006: "The TRA is aware that a number of people have argued that this type of spectrum should be available without the need to register, as in other jurisdictions, where by virtue of using it you are automatically licensed subject to certain conditions being met. However, the Telecommunications Law as it stands does not allow for that approach..."
  • "Consultation: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Frequency Licensing Regulation, TRA, 9 July 2006 - proposes an online system for applying for licenses for "telecommunication" devices using these bands.
  • "Petition against WiFi and Bluetooth licensing in Bahrain," openspectrum.info, 21 July 2006. By the time the TRA consultation on the above regulation ended, 52 Bahrainis had signed our petition against WiFi and Bluetooth licensing.
  • "TRA announces new consultation initiative with the users of radio frequencies," TRA press release, 12 February 2011, in English and Arabic: "The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced today a new consultation initiative with the formation of the Kingdom's Radiocommunications Consultative Committee (RCC). The RCC, chaired by Mr. Mohamed Tayeb Mahmood - Director of TRA's Technical and Operations Directorate, will be principally focused towards the users of equipment and radio frequency spectrum which are subject to the Telecommunications Law... The inaugural meeting will address issues relating to microwave fixed link licensees specifically addressing frequency congestion and future policy... Members of the telecommunications sector are invited to contact TRA to register their interest in participating in the RCC, rcc@tra.org.bh; they should also state their views on issues which they believe should be discussed at future meetings."
  • Spectrum Policy and Planning: A Joint Consultation Issued by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and the Ministry of Transportation of the Kingdom of Bahrain (MoT), 22 November 2004 (in English, summary in Arabic): "Non-commercial WiMAX will be similarly considered for 'Light Licensing' when it is standardised and consumer deployments commence. Bluetooth will also be covered by 'Light Licensing', as will RFID and home-based UWB (when approved)..."
  • "Temporary WiFi Frequency License Notice" - from 14 August 2005, "temporary" licenses were required of all Wifi networks, regardless of whether the network was for private or public use. "Temporary" meant that their duration was only 3 months and the TRA had no obligation to renew them. This was a significant step back from the previous policy, which exempted all private and noncommercial WiFi from licensing.
  • "Bahrain will not ban BlackBerry services," by Mahmood Rafique, Zawya.com, 2 August 2010: "...The UAE said yesterday it will block key features on the popular BlackBerry smart phones from October 11 - including Messenger, e-mail, and web browsing - citing national security concerns because the devices operate beyond the government's ability to monitor their use. Officials in neighbouring Saudi Arabia indicated it planned to follow suit... Asked whether Bahrain is thinking of similar actions, Al Doseri said that the TRA in Bahrain has not received any credible reports pointing towards security breaches. 'In Bahrain the service is doing well and all resources are being utilised by the TRA to make sure this service is not exploited by an individual or group of people for illicit purposes'..."
  • "...The telecommunications sector was the first key sector to be liberalized in Bahrain following the government's announced interest in opening traditionally government-controlled industries. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), [was] established in late 2002... [The] Telecommunications Law... took effect January 2003... [and] full liberalization of the sector [started] on July 1, 2004..." ---from the 2005 Investment Climate Statement for Bahrain, US Department of State.
  • An English translation of قانون الاتصالات (The Telecommunications Law [Legislative Decree Number 48, October 2002]). This law does not allow either license exemption or the use of class licenses for any form of wireless telecommunication, including cordless phones, and all applications for individual licenses must be made in writing.
  • British consultancy Intercai Ltd. "established the legal framework for liberalisation and set up the regulator... We are currently providing TRA's management team...." (as of 2003).
  • National Telecommunications Plan (2003). This document speaks of the introduction of licensing as a modern reform, part of the process of demonopolization and separating government from network operation.
  • "The New Telecommunications Structure in Bahrain," by Dr. Mohammed J. K. Alghatam, Chairman of the Board, Telecom Regulatory Authority, 21 January 2003. This presentation says there are 9 categories of license and 2 general types (Individual and Class). Public provision of "Wireless Internet" for pay requires a "Value Added Services License." A chart of License Types and Fees on TRA's website says the annual "renewal fee" for VAS licenses is "1% of gross annual turnover attributable to licenced activity."
  • The Bahrain Internet Society's WiFi Database: except for public Internet access provision on a commercial basis, Wi-fi was legal and license-free in Bahrain before August 2005.
  • "WiFi at Maccas," AME Info, 23 February 2005. Hotspots will open soon at McDonalds restaurants in 3 Bahrainian cities.
  • "Batelco launches WiFi service," Bahrain Tribune, 1 April 2004.
  • "TRA seeks to promote wireless technologies," Gulf Daily News, 15 August 2009.
  • "Love @ first sight in Bahrain," by Habib Toumi, Gulf News, 5 November 2004: " 'Whereas in Western countries teenagers who smile at one another start a conversation, normally the situation is different here. The stealthy smiles can be interpreted as a go-ahead-turn-your-Bluetooth-on indication'..."
  • "Land Registration to Undergo Huge Electronic Boost," Bahrain News Agency, 20 July 2008: "Head of Land Registration Shaikh Salman bin Abdullah al Khalifa announced that an advanced electronic system known as RFID will be soon inaugurated in Bahrain. This system, the first of its kind in the region, will be able to control the registration operation in a comprehensive and highly effective manner..."
  • "Ahlia University Library is the first of its kind in the Gulf Countries to implement (radio frequency identification) RFID technology-based 'Virtual' Library Management System..."
  • "Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Implementation in supply chain management: A study of technology diffusion," master's thesis by Ibrahim Amer, Arab Open University, Bahrain

Middle East - Regional Overview