Bahrain's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) recently held a workshop with government stakeholders and public wireless network operators on establishing the Mast Deployment Regulatory Framework and repairing the legal standing of unpermitted masts in efforts to restructure the policies of mast deployment.
“Since liberalization, the development of telecommunications services including wireless and mobile services has seen rapid growth in the kingdom of Bahrain, (and) is now a major component of the national economy,” said TRA General Director Mohammed Bubashait said. “Under the new responsibility defined by the new government decision concerning telecommunications masts TRA has ensured that a suitable regulatory framework and systems are in place in order to facilitate the evolution of environment-friendly wireless networks that continuously support the future services and respond to the consumer and investors' needs.”
Representatives from the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications, the Ministry of Municipalities, the Supreme Council for Environment, the Civil Aviation Affairs, security and military entities and the Information Affairs Authority also attended the workshop.
“TRA works closely with the government stakeholders and related public operators for designing and establishing the necessary masts and towers business and licensing regulatory processes that efficiently rectify the current mast landscape as well as masts' legal status, and permit future masts and towers in accordance with international best practices," Bubashait said.
The project will detail the deployment of future masts including how to camouflage the mas and addressing the community’s concerns about mast emissions. Lastly, site sharing will be encouraged in efforts to limit the number of masts and towers erected by operators.
“We have contracted with an international firm called Salience Consulting to provide the necessary consultancy to assist in executing this project to the best international practices,” Project Manager Adel Alshowaikh said. “Since the start of the project in January, TRA has conducted a study of masts' current status to identify the main causes (that) led to the increase of unpermitted masts. TRA has also conducted a technical evaluation on a sample of existing masts to ensure its compliance with engineering standards and specifications for establishing telecom masts.”
At the end of 2015, approximately 1,500 masts had been deployed, with 12 percent of those being shared among operators.
“Currently, we have ongoing working meetings with the relevant entities to formulate the most efficient and cost effective solutions to permit new masts and rectify the legal status of existing masts, we expect to start onsite rectification works by end of the year,” Alshowaikh said.