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Ericsson's 35 Years in Bahrain

Ericsson, the global provider of mobile and fixed network telecoms services, has been strongly engaged with Bahrain’s ICT (Information and Communications Technology) sector since 1978.
The 35th anniversary of its first contract in Bahrain was marked at a recent reception and gala dinner hosted by Minister of State for Communications, His Excellency Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa.
From GSM to 4G
The company has driven evolution of Bahrain’s mobile industry: it installed the Kingdom’s first GSM network and has provided successive upgrades, up to the latest LTE and 4G mobile networks. Ericsson has doubled its team in Bahrain, and actively recruits local talent and new graduates.
With the involvement of the Bahrain EDB, a range of major ICT companies now operates here, including Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei, Microsoft, Software AG, Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahindra and Wipro.
Technology innovation in the Kingdom stretches back as far as 1864 and continues to thrive. Bahrain offers the Middle East’s only deregulated telecommunications market, backed by an excellent fibre optic infrastructure. The Kingdom has also fostered positive conditions to promote software development outsourcing.
These efforts add up to a compelling proposition for investors. As HE Kamal bin Ahmed said, “The Kingdom has long been regarded as the Gulf’s technological pioneer. With an open and forward-thinking approach, Bahrain has proven to be an ideal testing ground for the introduction of new technologies to the region.”
Taking the lead
Bahrain has a strong record of ICT ‘firsts’ in the Middle East:
1864: connects to Indo-European telegraphic cable
1962: installs a mainframe computer, at Bahrain Petroleum
1969: installs a satellite station
1992: digitises national and international telephony switches
1995: launches an internet service
2001: holds an online referendum
2004: liberalises telecommunications market
2005: introduces smartcards
2006: launches 3G and 3.5G high-speed mobile broadband
2007: provides a nationwide WiMax wireless network
2010: ranks first in a United Nations e-government survey
In addition, in 2008, Bahrain launched the world’s first nationwide NGN (Next Generation Network).