Viva and BT have announced the completion of a Global IP Exchange (GIPX) in Bahrain. A first of its kind for the region, the hub is the result of a joint venture between BT (formerly British Telecoms) and Viva Bahrain. The hub will allow for the exchange of Internet protocol (IP) based traffic between different networks among customers of fixed networks and mobile operators thanks to an IP-based network-to-network interface. The result will be faster movement of data and voice over networks connected to the hub. The GIPX will benefit Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, who need to terminate international voice traffic to other countries, as well as providing BT with a foothold in the region and a base for expansion into North Africa. BT has a strong background in IP exchange technology and is considered by many to an industry leader.

Viva Bahrain chief executive Ulaiyan Al Wetaid claimed that providers across the GCC, Jordan and Egypt would benefit and that costs should also come down, leading customers to pay less for 4G LTE, WiFi roaming and high definition voice calls, among other services. The hub also represents an opportunity to create significant business in the sectors of mobile roaming, Wi-Fi roaming and other future IP Exchange propositions. “The Bahrain GIPX will provide end-users in the Middle-East and beyond with more choice, better service and higher quality communication services,” said Al Wetaid.

Kamal Ahmed, Transportation and Telecommunications Minister, said that the new hub would allow for integration of fixed, mobile, legacy and next-generation systems with minimal cost and high efficiency. “Bahrain is the fourth country after Singapore, the US and the UK to have a GIPX that will put us on the global map and help facilitate voice and data traffic for local and regional telecoms operators,” he said. “We are convinced that a Bahrain-based hub will help all operators in the Gulf and Middle East by providing faster connectivity - reinforcing Bahrain’s position as an attractive business-friendly country.”