Bahrain has achieved full nationwide 5G coverage, sparking a new wave of opportunities for streaming, gaming and supply chain technologies. All of the nation’s 1.5 million population are now able to access the high-speed service, and investment experts hope that the roll-out will attract heavyweight tech firms in the post-COVID era.
Bahrain’s telecoms sector attracted some BHD 787 million in investments (more than 2 billion US dollars) between 2009 and 2019. In line with economic diversification efforts, the Kingdom’s ICT sector now accounts for nearly three per cent of national GDP.
Commenting on the announcement, H.E. Engineer Kamal bin Ahmed Mohamed, Bahrain’s Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, highlighted the importance of strengthening smart telecoms infrastructure. He said: “We are continually striving to ensure that the Kingdom of Bahrain maintains its position among global leaders in this crucial sector. This includes ensuring availability and deployment of commercial 5G services and enhancing readiness for next generation ICT services such as the Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine communications. This important milestone is also testament to our strength as a regional and global ICT leader. Moreover, it is a clear indication that our ongoing national digital transformation and Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 strategies are on track. Both prioritise strong ICT infrastructure to support the growth of our digital economy while enhancing Bahrain’s readiness to harness innovation. We are confident that our potential to generate, use, and ultimately export innovation will be pivotal for the growth and diversification of our economy towards high value-added sectors such as content development and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Rapid access to information is essential to innovation, particularly for next-generation services. In this way, 5G is a crucial step in Bahrain’s ongoing transition from net consumer to net producer of technological innovation”.
Researchers estimate that there will be more than 1 billion 5G connections by 2023, with Bahrain one of the world’s first countries to achieve nationwide coverage.
The Kingdom has previously introduced several laws for tech-driven businesses, including MENA’s first personal data protection law in line with GDPR and a data jurisdiction law allowing information stored in Bahrain to fall under its home country’s legal jurisdiction.