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Batelco Reacts Strongly to TRA’s Imposed Fine

Published March 31st, 2008 - 11:35 GMT
Al Bawaba
Al Bawaba

Batelco Reacts Strongly to TRA’s Imposed Fine
Batelco has reacted strongly to the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority’s Section 35 Order and fine of BD100, 000, imposed for an alleged failure to provide Customer Access Tail services to another licensed operator. 
Batelco claims that the grounds relied upon by the TRA for the issuance of the Order are not legally justified having regard to the background circumstances of the matter and the relevant provisions of the Telecommunications Law.
Batelco further claims that the TRA has behaved inappropriately by its involvement which disrupted a potential commercial business relationship between Batelco and the other licensed operator.
Batelco had informed the TRA well in advance of the reasons for such delays which included inaccurate and inadequate forecasting by the other operator in violation of specific processes under which Batelco has to comply with to provide such services.
Batelco Chief Executive Peter Kaliaropoulos explained that according to Batelco’s Reference Offer to other OLO’s (other licensed operators), Batelco was not obliged to accept orders for such services in cases where capacity on its network was unavailable. He further explained that delivering such services in the requested time frame would also have required Batelco to invest in its legacy network, a matter that Batelco was not obliged to do under the Telecommunications Law.
“Batelco has invested $52 million in its new NGN (Next Generation Network) to deliver countrywide MPLS services in the Kingdom of Bahrain and believes that investment in its legacy network, which will no longer be required once the NGN is complete, is not a financially sound or viable option,” stated Mr. Kaliaropoulos.
“We have brought forward our NGN rollout plan and will complete the full migration of services from Batelco’s legacy network to the NGN in 2008 and not 2010 as originally planned.”
“In view of this fact we explained to the TRA that Batelco could meet the full requirements of new services from operators at that time in three locations in the Kingdom. We also requested permission to enter into a commercial deal with the operator to resolve the problem in the interim and understood that the TRA had no issue with this,” explained Mr. Kaliaropoulos.
 “We believe that the TRA acted inappropriately by subsequently involving themselves in the commercial relationship between the operator and Batelco.”
 “This is clearly discriminatory conduct by the TRA against Batelco’s commercial interests and has undermined Batelco’s capacity to strike a sound commercial agreement with the operator that would resolve all issues between them.”
“The imposition of such a fine of this magnitude is discriminatory and under such circumstances is disproportionate to the alleged breach of the Telecommunications Law, as claimed by the TRA,” he added.
“Furthermore, TRA’s actions can be interpreted as punishment towards Batelco’s huge investment programme to introduce the world’s most advanced network infrastructure in the Kingdom and a dilution of its confidence in future dealings with the TRA.”
Batelco is exploring all possible options to deliver services to the relevant licensed operator whilst initiating steps to formally appeal the decision through arbitration and/or litigation.

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