In an exclusive interview with Bahrain Network (BNET) CEO Ahmed Jaber Aldoseri, he shared details about the company’s journey, goals and aspirations, as well as his perspective on the growth of the country’s telecom industry.
Notably, at the 2022 Telecom Review Excellence Awards, BNET was recognized for its regional excellence, receiving the “Best Middle Eastern Fiber Infrastructure Deployment” award.
It's been a year since you were appointed as the CEO of BNET. Can you share with us your experience and what BNET's journey has been in 2022?
BNET provides a one-of-a-kind experience with a business model unlike any other in the world. BNET is not only a national broadband provider but also a provider of infrastructure for all types of connectivity, including empowering next-generation mobile technologies such as 5G, 5.5G and other leading technologies. It has been a very rewarding experience as we continuously develop such a prosperous organization. BNET serves many of the Kingdom's national objectives, especially the availability of high-speed, accessible and reliable fiber connectivity at fair and reasonable prices. BNET is uniquely positioned to serve all its customers while also establishing relationships and opportunities with regional and international counterparts.
What is the importance of Bahrain’s 5th National Telecommunication Plan (NTP5), and how did this impact BNET's establishment?
In general, national telecommunications plans are a tool used by governments to set a multi-year direction for the telecommunications sector. Bahrain Network is a key component of Bahrain’s 5th National Telecommunication Plan (NTP5), which was set up to accelerate the growth and economic diversification of the telecommunication sector, including rolling out a fiber optic network to 100% of all businesses and 95% of all households across the Kingdom of Bahrain. Given Bahrain's macrogeographic presence, the market structure has been updated to allow the separation of the competing operators and the establishment of BNET, as well as the strict set of separation obligations for the equivalence of inputs in terms of information, processes and service characteristics for all licensees served by BNET, so that there is no competition in the infrastructure layer and BNET continues to be the sole provider in the infrastructure layer.
How does BNET provide the backbone for new mobile technologies such as 5G and access to international cable systems?
BNET's goal is to connect any technology with any kind of access needs, whether fixed or mobile. BNET offers connectivity to all cable landing stations in Bahrain, enabling the delivery of ultra-high-speed mobile services and other providers for mobile backhaul and mobile fronthaul, ensuring the availability of international capacity to local operators.
To support the goal of accelerating broadband growth, how does BNET invest in its workforce to fulfill the demand for highly-skilled talents?
BNET sets a high standard requirement for the development of its talents by ensuring each employee has access to a minimum number of training hours in addition to encouraging the buy-in of professional certifications and credentials, [thus] setting a high standard demand for the growth of its talent. We ensure empowering our team by providing the necessary tools to be more effective and efficient in their day-to-day jobs. We facilitated a collaborative environment that fosters teamwork and constant communication to ensure that our employees feel rewarded and appreciated for their hard work and dedication. We are happy to say that BNET is maintaining a low turnover rate in the industry, and we aim to always remain the employer of choice for employees in telecoms and the digital sector.
From your perspective, how will Bahrain's telecom sector continue to expand and remain competitive regionally and internationally?
Bahrain’s telecom sector needs to be aware of the changes taking place not only in the region but also globally. When we have the mindset of competing as a nation, we will be setting policies and directives locally to ensure that we can attract foreign direct investments; therefore, it will enable forward-looking regulations, coherent policies and enhanced working relationships between the different parties in the sector.
What are BNET's aspirations for 2023 and beyond?
BNET aspires to continue holding its leadership position in fiber infrastructure, as evidenced by recent awards received by BNET, and to ensure Bahrain is well positioned as an ICT hub in the region, supporting its customers with a blend of quality services that meet their requirements.