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Bahrain - Communications

Bahrain is a relatively modern country when it comes to communications and most expats should be able to find everything they need for daily life.

The telephone network is run by Batelco, which is more or less run by the government. In order to have a landline phone installed in your home you must visit one of Batelco’s service centres to order the line. Expats must make a deposit to Batelco to be able to make international calls but this is refundable when the line is removed or when you leave the country. Public telephones are colour coded according to the type of payment they take. Blue phone booths take coins in payment while red phone booths are card operated. Silver phone booths take both forms of payment.

Mobile phone networks are provided by MTC Vodafone and Batelco and there are pay as you go and monthly paid options available. Costs and packages change frequently but there are a number of mobile phone shops situated in the many malls which can give you the latest information. Mobile phone coverage is reasonable and those bringing in phones from other countries may find that their network has a roaming agreement in Bahrain, so calls can still be made.

Broadband internet access is available in the larger urban areas and Batelco was for a long time the only internet service provider in the country, although other companies have recently obtained licences to provide services. The process for connecting to internet services is the same as for telephone connections.

Postal services are very efficient, with airmail letters to Europe taking around four days. There are also a number of companies which offer one day courier services to different destinations around the world. Post offices have long opening hours and operate from Saturday to Thursday, opening at 7 am and closing at 7.30 pm. It is advisable to obtain a post office box as home deliveries are unreliable. Once you have your residency permit you can just go along to the post office to arrange a PO Box and the charges per year are very small. Some post offices have boxes which can be accessed even when the office is closed.

The television and radio stations are operated by the government, though there are a growing number of households now which are opting to have satellite television. Satellite services show more programmes from Britain and the USA. As in Britain, you can choose different packages of channels so you have the ones you would watch the most. Different providers offer different channels so it is best to shop around before you settle on one provider.

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