With the various schemes and announcements from potential competitors like 2Connect with their 30% reduction in tariffs for broadband changes when compared to Batelco, the mediocre and meagre offerings of MTC Vodafone’s 3.5G access and latest from both MENA Telecom and MTC Vodafone’s WiMax initiatives, Batelco surprised no one when they announced yesterday in their press conference that they are reducing the tariffs of business broadband by 25% while 2 new packages were introduced at a reduction for businesses with an unlimited threshold. That’s the good part, the bad of course is that they are still too expensive when compared to the rest of the world and there is a lot of improvement room left not only in price, but also for the speeds available, which, I am certain, will come along a lot faster now that competition is heating up.
I refuse to believe that these changes have happened to “help” the community, Batelco had ample time and resources to do that amidst the community passionate appeals for them to do so, they brushed those appeals aside, lifted their noses high and went ahead and did what pleases them. So the following seems rather strange coming from them, it is as if they have just woken up to the power of communications in general and are philanthropically and selflessly now contributing to the country’s development and global competitiveness:
â€œInformation and communication technology (ICT) and e-services can complement the kingdomâ€™s financial sector in accelerating Bahrainâ€™s future economic growth,â€ he noted.
â€œTo enable businesses and ministries to embrace the advantages of electronically delivered services, the availability and cost of high speed broadband connectivity is crucial.
â€œBatelco has, therefore, introduced new managed data services and reduced its prices for business broadband by 50pc.â€
This will create the most competitive rates for high speed dedicated Internet access across the GCC, said Mr Kaliaropoulos.
â€œOnline delivery of services and information by ministries and businesses, not only creates a sustainable, knowledge-driven economy but also creates high value jobs and encourages innovation in creating and delivering content via portals and fixed and wireless devices,â€ he said.
â€œFixed and wireless broadband technologies introduced by Batelco and now, extremely competitive Internet access services, are crucial components for regional leadership in e-services.â€
No Mr. Kaliaropoulos, what you did is respond to mounting competitive pressures, which a normal company is fully condoned in doing of course; however, Batelco, being effectively the sole operator in the country and the criticality of its product in the development of our economy and creativity, you should have responded without having to wait for the competition to knock on your door. Had you done so, you would have already realised the increased market size and profitability as you have already noticed in your mobile telephony offerings:
ÙˆØ§ÙˆØ¶Ø Ø§Ù† “Ø§Ù„Ù…Ù†Ø§ÙØ³Ø© ÙÙŠ Ø§Ù„Ø³ÙˆÙ‚ Ø®Ù„Ù‚Øª Ø²Ø¨Ø§Ø¦Ù† Ø¬Ø¯Ø¯Ø§ ÙˆÙ„Ù… ØªØ¤Ø«Ø± ÙƒØ«ÙŠØ±Ø§ Ø¹Ù„Ù‰ Ø§Ù„Ø´Ø±ÙƒØ© Ø§Ù„ØªÙŠ ÙÙ‚Ø¯Øª ÙÙ‚Ø· Ù†ØÙˆ 15% Ø§Ù„Ù‰ 20% Ù…Ù† Ø²Ø¨Ø§Ø¦Ù†Ù‡Ø§ØŒ ÙÙŠ ØÙŠÙ† Ø§Ø±ØªÙØ¹ Ø¹Ø¯Ø¯ Ù…Ø³ØªØ®Ø¯Ù…ÙŠ Ø§Ù„Ù†Ù‚Ø§Ù„ ÙÙŠ Ø§Ù„Ø¨ØØ±ÙŠÙ† Ù…Ù† 300 Ø§Ù„Ù Ø§Ù„Ù‰ Ù†ØÙˆ 620 Ø§Ù„Ù Ù…Ø´ØªØ±ÙƒØ§”.
“Competition in the market created new customers and did not affect the company too much as it lost only about 15% – 20% of its customers while mobile users increased from 300,000 to about 620,000 subscribers in Bahrain”
The question now is will the TRA play your game and allow you to offer these prices? I hope they will, but only to force you and your competitors to achieve better competitiveness through efficiency and strengthening the market size in order to offer even more reasonable reductions in exorbitant tariffs.
I want more competition, please.