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Bahrain’s 5G roll-out to spark new wave of next-generation tech opportunities

Bahrain’s 5G roll-out to spark new wave of next-generation tech opportunities

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Bahrain has achieved full national 5G coverage, according to that country’s Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications, as two of three mobile operators have achieved full coverage to the Kingdom’s population.

According to the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications, the move has sparked a new wave of opportunities for streaming, gaming and supply chain technologies. Bahrain has long been considered a strategic base for tech firms to launch data-driven services in the Gulf region, with Amazon Web Services launching the region’s first hyper-scale data centre in the Kingdom last year.

All of the Gulf state’s 1.5 million population are now able to access the high-speed service and investment experts hope that the roll-out will attract other heavyweight tech firms in the post-COVID era, as companies look to make full use of the wide promise of next generation technologies across a wide variety of applications.

Bahrain’s telecoms sector attracted some 787 million Bahraini dinar (US$2 billion) in investments between 2009 and 2019. Rapid progress on 5G is also being made across the region as the Gulf digitises.

H.E Engineer Kamal bin Ahmed Mohamed, Bahrain’s Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications said: “We are continually striving to ensure that the Kingdom of Bahrain maintains its position among global leaders in this crucial sector. This includes ensuring availability and deployment of commercial 5G services and enhancing readiness for next generation ICT services such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine communications.

“This important milestone is also testament to our strength as a regional and global ICT leader. Moreover, it is a clear indication that our ongoing national digital transformation and Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 strategies are on track. Both prioritise strong ICT infrastructure to support the growth of our digital economy while enhancing Bahrain’s readiness to harness innovation.”

Mohamed added that: “We are confident that our potential to generate, use, and ultimately export innovation will be pivotal for the growth and diversification of our economy towards high value-added sectors such as content development and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Rapid access to information is essential to innovation, particularly for next-generation services. In this way, 5G is a crucial step in Bahrain’s ongoing transition from net consumer to net producer of technological innovation.”

The minister emphasised the importance of strengthening smart telecommunications infrastructure as well as the creation of regulation that would encourage innovation and investment in the sector. “Today, the Kingdom of Bahrain is one of the first countries in the world to provide complete 5G services,” he said.

Mohamed praised the role played by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in creating an attractive regulatory environment and the telecommunications companies for bringing the sector in line with the digital era via implementation of the latest methods and technologies.

Researchers estimate that there will be more than one billion 5G connections by 2023, and Bahrain’s nationwide roll-out places the Kingdom at the forefront of this global technological advancement for both B2B and B2C applications.

The Kingdom has pursued a strategy of agile and flexible regulation to encourage innovation and investment in the telecoms sector. Bahrain was the first GCC member to open and liberalise its telecoms market, which remains one of the region’s only telecoms markets with no restrictions on VoIP services.

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