Batelco to invest $199 million in Bahrain
Batelco, Bahrain's leading telecom operator, plans to invest up to BD75 million ($199 million) over the next three years on developing infrastructure in Bahrain, the company said.
The company will invest BD25 million each year.
The company's Bahrain chief executive Rashid Abdulla said Bateclo had a commitment to Bahrain and, over the years, planned to become even more customer-centric.
"More focus in the next few years will be on developing broadband Internet services as well as high value businesses, while at the same time not ignoring our other customers," Abdulla said during a press conference to elaborate on Batelco's half yearly results.
"We have also launched several new offers to coincide with and commemorate our 30th anniversary in Bahrain and many more will come," he said during the event, organised at the Batelco headquarters in Hamala.
He said Batelco is not expecting a very large increase in the number of customers in Bahrain in the near future so it would look at adding value to those who it already had.
"Batelco is the group's mother company so we are always investing here," he said. "Constantly developing infrastructure, improving services and developing technology begins from Bahrain," Abdulla added.
Earlier, Batelco group chief executive Peter Kaliaropoulos said the company had completed a deal for a 25 percent stake in Zain Saudi for which due diligence is set to begin.
"Everything has been finalised but the deal will be operative soon," he said. "When that happens, the Batelco group's total customer base would touch nearly 20 million subscribers, which is twice as much as it is now."
Kaliaropoulos said the half yearly results had been good for the company and he expected the yearly results to be better. He said half yearly profits of BD38.8 million against gross revenues of BD163.2 million were encouraging.
He said there was continuing growth of customer numbers, which had increased by nearly 500,000 since the first quarter to now reach more than 10 million.
Kaliaropoulos said despite the intense competitive nature of the Bahrain market, Batelco has also retained market leadership for mobile services and data network solutions.
He said the group mobile customer base grew by 12 percent to 9.89 million since the fourth quarter of 2010, while its group broadband customer base grew by 8 percent during the same period.
He said in Bahrain, Batelco's mobile customer base improved marginally showing an increase of 2 percent since the first quarter of this year.
However, while Batelco's wireless broadband services grew by 14 percent, the fixed line services continued to show decline, as more and more customers migrate to mobile services.
Kaliaropoulos said he believed the recently-introduced number portability would only mean between 2 percent and 3 percent of the customers moving to other operators. "If someone in Bahrain is not satisfied with a particular operator, he just takes another connection with another operator," he added.
He said the company would continue to serve the public and the industry in Bahrain, as it had done over the past 30 years. "We will continue to innovate and offer many reasons to our customers to ensure we enjoy their loyalty," he added.