Bahrain-leading Batelco continues growth

Since Batelco was established as a Bahraini shareholding company 30 years ago, the organisation has diversified and expanded both its footprint and product portfolio


Batelco now encompasses operations in seven geographies and end-to-end integrated communication services covering fixed, mobile and broadband via state-of-the-art next generation networks.

Batelco offers end-to-end telecommunications solutions for its residential, business and government customers in Bahrain on Next Generation, all-IP fixed and 3.5G wireless networks, MPLS based regional data solutions and, GSM mobile and WiMax broadband services across the countries in which it operates.

Today, the Batelco Group, which is listed on the Bahrain Bourse, operates across seven markets in MENA and India serving the consumer, corporate and wholesale markets in Bahrain and also delivering cutting-edge fixed and wireless telecommunication services to its customers in Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and India.

Batelco’s overseas operations continue to add value to the group and in 2010 contributed 34 percent of gross revenues. The group’s successful expansion strategy is establishing the Batelco name as a dependable and reliable company throughout the MENA and Asian regions and resulted in over 9.2 million subscribers at the end of 2010, equivalent to a massive 67 percent year-on-year increase over 2009. The group announced gross revenues for 2010 of $902.7m and net profit of $230.2m.

In the Kingdom of Bahrain, the group’s home market, Batelco retains the position as the leading integrated communication services provider in spite of intense competition from a number of companies offering mobile and internet services. Bahrain is considered the most liberalised and competitive telecommunications environment in the MENA region.

Serving both the corporate and consumer markets in Bahrain, Batelco delivers cutting-edge fixed and wireless telecommunication services. At the end of 2010, Batelco Bahrain’s customer base stood at 770,000 mobile customers, 88,500 Broadband customers and 185,000 fixed line connections, confirming its market leadership.

Awards success
In 2010, for the second successive year, Batelco took home the Telecoms Company of the Year award for the Middle East Region at the annual Arabian Business Achievements Awards 2010.

Batelco was also voted as Bahrain’s Leading Quoted Company for Investor Relations (IR) at the Middle East Investor Relations Awards ceremony held in Beirut, Lebanon in 2010.

The annual IR awards, which recognise practitioners and companies in the Middle East for best IR practices at global standards, was attended by fund managers and capital market executives who gathered to celebrate the development of excellence in IR standards across the region.

Winning such a coveted award validates Batelco’s high standards and transparency in all the company’s investor relations communications. Batelco has significantly raised the bar in recent years by implementing best practice corporate governance initiatives across all areas of the company including the key area of investor relations.

Batelco is committed to principle-based, value-driven corporate governance, embracing the governance principles led by the Bahrain Ministry of Industry and Commerce and developed by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB).

In preparation for the introduction of mandatory corporate governance compliance in the Kingdom of Bahrain from January 1st 2012, Batelco is taking all necessary steps during 2011 to ensure that the company remains fully compliant and meets all the applicable requirements of the new code.

Batelco affiliates and subsidiaries
Umniah, Jordan: Umniah, Batelco’s 96 percent owned subsidiary in Jordan, continues to demonstrate its strength and popularity in the Jordanian market with a mobile customer base at the end of 2010 of 2.1 million and 19,000 broadband customers, increases of 31.5 percent and 5.1 percent YoY respectively.

A driving factor behind Umniah’s success is its sound business strategies and its provision of a comprehensive range of telecom solutions that includes advanced mobile, Internet and business solutions. Umniah operates a nationwide EDGE 2.75G network with more than 1,350 base stations, offering great coverage both inside and outside the Amman.

Furthermore, and as part of its commitment to help stimulate development within Jordan’s telecom sector, and in line with the directions of His Majesty King Abdullah II, Umniah contributed through its wide variety of services towards increasing mobile and internet penetration, which supports the directions and objectives of the national strategy for the Jordanian telecom sector.

Broadband services, Umax and UDSL, combined with data business solutions and state of the art mobile telecom services, underpin Umniah’s growth for the future.

Qualitynet, Kuwait: A 44 percent Batelco-controlled subsidiary company, Qualitynet meets the challenges of an era of convergence by providing total ICT solutions. Qualitynet remains the clear market leader in the Data Communications and Internet Services industry in Kuwait, where there are four licensed ISPs delivering services.

Qualitynet’s market share for broadband services is estimated at 40 percent, with data communications estimated to be 55 percent at local level and 70 percent at international level. Qualitynet is the first telecom operator in Kuwait to open up terrestrial broadband services with Iraq.

During the last two years, the company has launched global managed services in partnership with global players to serve corporate and multi-national companies, as well as surveillance and security services to meet the growing demand from corporate clients and shopping malls.

Qualitynet continues to distinguish itself as the leader in providing call centre services to its customers with differential service levels. Qualitynet has also been voted over two consecutive years as a ‘Super Brand’ within the State of Kuwait.

Etihad Atheeb Telecom, Saudi Arabia: Etihad Atheeb, in which Batelco holds 15 percent equity, has grown its broadband customer base by a staggering 100 percent to 104,000 by the end of 2010, thanks to the commitment of a strong team and the reliability and popularity of its GO brand.

The company’s services include numerous wired and wireless services such as voice telephone communications, data services, Internet telephony services, broadband Internet via WiMax technology, fixed telephone lines, and optical fibres to homes and businesses, in addition to video services.
Arabian Business Economic magazine ranked GO as one of the top 50 brands in Saudi Arabia in September 2010, a considerable achievement for the company after only a year and a half of commercial operations as the first 4G Cloud Telecom in the region.

SabaFon, Yemen: Sabafon, in which the Batelco Group holds a 26.94 percent equity investment, has continued to impress and ended the year 2010 with more than 3.6 million customers, an impressive 40.2 percent increase year on year. Sabafon is the largest GSM mobile operator in Yemen and offers national coverage with over 940 base stations across the country.

The company started its operations in February 2001 with the vision to establish a strong, dynamic and flexible organisation to serve and benefit the people of Yemen with the latest GSM technology and services.

The company provides high quality and innovative mobile services and presents the best value to all Yemeni customers.

S Tel, India: S Tel is a joint venture of Siva Industries & Holdings Ltd, India, with BMIC Ltd. holding 42.7 percent equity. S Tel currently operates in five of its six licensed circles – Bihar, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and North East and is now in the process of rolling out services in its final circle Jammu & Kashmir. S Tel is the only new telco to rollout services at all locations where spectrum is available and the only new entrant to win 3G licenses.

In a short span of just a year S Tel has a customer base of over 2.3 million (as on 31st December, 2010) generating more than 13 million minutes a day with a strong and dependable network of 3,478 sites and over 35,000 points of sale.

S Tel has pioneered, in the highly cluttered mobile telecom market, the ‘bulk minutes’ concept and has created a unique brand and product proposition.
With the ethos of collaboration and partnership, S Tel has forged best-in-class partnerships with over 40 leading organisations and also conferred with the prestigious CIO ‘Innovation Awards 2010’ for its innovative IT Project ‘C FUTURE’.

Batelco Egypt Communications (SAE), Egypt: Batelco Egypt is wholly owned by the Batelco Group. The company was established in 2003 with an initial focus on providing worldwide telecommunication services to corporate and multinational customers. Today, Batelco Egypt is focused on providing end to end data solutions to multi-national companies through the Batelco Group’s worldwide network.

The company’s services are based on Global IP-VPN through Batelco’s own infrastructure in the Middle East and it is further extended across the globe through alliances with international partners. Batelco Egypt aims to deliver one-stop-shop services to cater to all of its customers’ diversified communication needs.

Acquisitions remain the number one priority on the Batelco Group’s agenda for 2011 with the Middle East, North Africa and India/Asia Pacific regions being the main areas of the company’s focus.