Bahrain: With all medium and large businesses in Bahrain having access to the internet, 98% of those businesses use a fixed line broadband service, according to Bahrain’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA), survey.
Of those businesses accessing the internet, 53% have a mobile broadband subscription and in terms of speed 41% are subscribed to a broadband connection speed of 1Mbps, and 30% subscribed to a broadband connection of 100Mbps. Sending or receiving emails is the most common internet activity used by businesses.
TRA in a statement said the data services would remain critical for businesses. In that context TRA looks forward to the implementation by Batelco of reduced prices for its MPLS leased lines and the introduction of the wholesale MPLS leased lines and Service Level Agreements enabled by TRA’s decision of March 2012.
The survey shows the satisfaction with internet services had improved in most areas, with 75% of businesses satisfied with overall service levels (up from 70% in 2007). According to the survey findings, average monthly spending of telecoms services has decreased in 2011 compared with 2007, thanks to the fierce competition in the market.
Further to the 2011 Residential Consumer Survey Report which was published in February 2012, the TRA has released the results of its telecommunications survey among business consumers which was undertaken during October 2011, covering a representative sample of 250 respondents. The survey examined the usage of and access to different telecommunications services, including fixed lines, mobile phones and internet services by business users as well as measured the extent to which users are satisfied with their telecommunications services.
The published report also compares the results of the 2011 survey with the results of a similar survey undertaken in 2007. It shows the numerous areas of progress in the telecommunications sector between 2007 and 2011 as well as changes in usage over time.
Fixed voice and fax lines are the most commonly used type of connection by businesses. The number of national calls made from fixed lines has increased since 2007, with the proportion of businesses making more than 100 fixed to fixed calls per day increasing from 22% in 2007 to 53% in 2011. The average duration of national calls made from fixed lines has increased since 2007. For large and medium businesses, the average monthly expenditure on fixed line services has decreased since 2007. However, the average monthly spending by small businesses has slightly increased, from BD200 in 2007 to BD220 in 2011. Satisfaction levels among businesses are relatively high for the overall fixed line service level (73%, although down from 88% in 2007), range of the services, quality of services and national call charges, but low for operators’ response and customer care.
The proportion of businesses that provide mobile phones to employees has increased by more than 30% since 2007, with all large businesses providing mobiles to their staff. The main reason for supplying employees with mobile phones is to have a mobile workforce (42%) closely followed by expenditure control (37%). The number and duration of national calls made from mobiles have increased since 2007, with more than 60% of businesses making more than 50 calls per day.
Although only a small proportion of businesses had actually changed their mobile service provider, the majority of those had found the process to be easy. Bulk SMS (44%) and international roaming (42%) are the main value added services used by businesses.
Average monthly spending on mobile services has decreased since 2007 as competition intensifies between mobile services providers, with the greatest expenditure reduction experienced by large businesses. The majority of businesses are satisfied with their overall level of mobile service, but satisfaction levels were the lowest for customer care and dealing with problems. Prepaid calling cards have become increasingly important, accounting for just less than 20% of international calls made by businesses in 2011.
More than 40% of businesses make 50+ international calls per day, with most calls made from fixed lines. KSA (75%) followed by UAE (73%) are the most commonly called countries. Satisfaction with international calls charges has improved since 2007. More than 50% of businesses are satisfied with the price they pay for international calls.
“The results of this survey are very useful. In particular, the survey focuses on the ways in which business customers’ access and use telecommunications services supplements other market information gathered by TRA, and provides a valuable consumer perspective on the performance of the industry. Competitive and innovative telecommunications services remain an essential requirement of businesses in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the results of the business survey provide an interesting picture of the progress in the telecommunications sector in terms of services offered, choice, quality and prices,” TRA in a statement said
“Consumers’ interest is at the heart of TRA actions and so it is very rewarding to observe increasing usage and declining costs of telecommunications services for business customers since 2007, as well as increasing uptake of innovative services such as mobile broadband.”