x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Telecoms in Bahrain may be given licence back

Bahrain's telecoms regulator is still considering whether it should revoke the licence of telecoms operator 2Connect

The Bahraini telecommunications regulator says it will consider reinstating the operator 2Connect's licence.

Ahmed Aldosari, the telecommunications regulation authority's director of information and communications technologies who has led the action against 2Connect, said yesterday the issue "should be decided very soon" but was now in the hands of the board of directors.

The operator has been in a legal battle with the regulator since it decided to suspend 2Connect's services on March 21 because of "unspecified security concerns".

The regulator has since said it would extend the deadline for 2Connect to cease its services to April 23 to give the company's clients more time to smoothly change to another operator.

In a statement on its website, the authority said it "announced its intention to issue a resolution to cancel its previous resolution, which revoked the telecommunications licences of 2Connect".

The authority's board is expected to meet today to make a final decision, Mr Aldosari said.

Fahad al Shirawi, the chief executive of 2Connect, has been working with the authority to reverse the licence cancellation decision and has teamed with another operator based in Bahrain, Next Generation Network Solutions (NGNS), to assure "business continuity to all clients".

Milan Jovancic, the deputy general manager of NGNS, called the regulator's statement "surprising".

2Connect has clients including Citibank, BNP Paribas, Icap, Bloomberg News and the US government. Mr al Shirawi has said the decision could lose the support of his high-profile clients and jeopardise the economy of the small island kingdom.