Bahrain: The Little Engine That Could

With a land area of just 760 sq. km., and home to a population of 1.7 million, Bahrain now has 100% 5G coverage.

When a country is half the size of London, it’s that much easier to blanket the whole country with 5G capability.

The smallest country in the Middle East, and third in Asia, after Maldives and Singapore, Bahrain did just that in January of this year. This tiny archipelago located in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia, is one of the first countries to achieve the feat and would serve as the test case for the vaunted powers of 5G.

What Is 5G?

Over the last decade, users have been clamouring for ever-faster downloads to their smartphones and computers. “5G” is the industry’s answer, and it bursts into people’s doors with:

  • Faster download speeds
  • Lower latency
  • More capacity
  • More bandwidth

5G is the 5th generation of wireless networking technology that is said to change the whole landscape.  This article caused quite a stir when it said, back in 2018, that 5G can download movies in 6 seconds. The same also said that an individual can save 24 hours or 1 day of every month with 5G.

5G’s claim to fame would be its speed being 100x faster than 4G, delivering downloads of up to 20 Gbps.

But actually, it’s not just the speed that matters, it’s also the capacity. 5G can maintain blinding velocities even in areas dense with thousands and tens of thousands of users, making it ideal for use in urban environments. (This is made possible by employing high-frequency bands that can carry more data.)

Of course, we’re not saying 5G is the panacea for 21st-century worries. It does have its serious “cons,” but that’s what you would expect from a nascent technology. The kinks are being worked on because the economic rewards are simply that great.

Meanwhile, Bahrain would do well not to squander its lead

What Can Bahrain Do With 5G?

While other countries are struggling with their rollouts, Bahrain can meanwhile begin to harness first-mover advantages.

IoT and AI

With 5G in place, and with the cooperation of the public and private sector, the country can nurture businesses that focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

This time, its small size becomes a virtue. The Oxford Business Group reports, “The kingdom’s geographically and demographically compact market provides an ideal sandbox for tech companies and start-ups to experiment and roll out pilot programmes, giving it a well-established research and development pedigree.

With 5G, IoT and AI projects are in a much better position to have the designs and advancements once limited by available technology.

While we are probably years from a commercial and widely adopted IoT, Bahrain can be a hub and accelerator for such projects in the Middle East. These have solid use cases in transportation, manufacturing, healthcare, and the development of smart cities. 


Covid taught the world just how important it is to be “geographically agnostic.” One cannot depend on a single location (like an office, school or church) for vital activities.

Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR) allow for an immersive experience—sights and sounds, with haptic feedback—without a change in one’s physical location. It allows you to engage in different activities in the comfort of your home, for example.

In the future, staying put might not be due to a virus, but for the ease and speed with which things can be done.

VR and AR projects are naturally data and bandwidth-hungry. 5G can meet those data requirements and provide for a smoother and more immersive VR experience.

The virtual reality space is a fast-growing sector. It’s not just for gamers anymore. For example, these technologies can radically change how we experience buying things and have use cases in retail, real estate, travel, education and life sciences.

Bahrain can position itself at the centre of these developments.  

Creativity and Innovation

Ingenuity and imagination have always been light years ahead of technology. This means that plenty of ideas are left in the backburner waiting for tech to catch up. With greater speeds, a full range of “impractical ideas” suddenly become commercially feasible and are ready to come out of the woodwork.

On top of all that, this newfangled tool can also spur creativity and innovation as engineers, designers and programmers are given more room to play with. There is yet a world of unseen products and services to surely come out after a 5G rollout.

What are these products? Nobody knows for sure. We are still in the infancy of this technology. Back in the 90s, we knew that the internet will be big, we didn’t know just how big. It is the same here.

The good thing about this is that Bahraini leadership supports innovation and creativity and it will only be a matter of time before this proactive stance will yield its fruits.

Small Businesses

The impact of 5G will be immediate when it comes to Bahrain’s small enterprises.

For businesses that suffered connectivity issues, downtime, laggy service or slow downloads, the 5G rollout will offer a very different experience. It doesn’t take much to conclude that 5G can make any business more efficient, more effective and more mobile than ever.

Business operations don’t need to be centralized in an office anymore as computers need not be physically tethered by wire or cable.

More than having a good connection, businesses can now have easy access to real-time data. Getting up-to-the-minute information helps in rapid decision-making. For example, in a retail scenario, when a store sees, in real-time, that a particular item is selling very quickly, it can instantly bring out stocks from the warehouse, avoiding costly shortages at the front end.

Large enterprises already have this as a standard feature, but 5G puts this capability in the hands of much smaller businesses.

Bahrain should take advantage of first-mover advantages in 5G and nurture globally competitive enterprises. Because when almost everything is virtual, the difference between local and global is rapidly getting blurry.

The Rise of Remote Work

The interesting about tech is that the more you automate things, the more people you need to support it. There was a time when people were afraid that computers will result in mass layoffs. It instead led to a mass hiring of computer technicians, computer programmers, software developers, data entry specialists, and other people with skills around the computer.

The enterprises spurred and birthed by this 5G rollout will need people working on the back end. Businesses will be more efficient, yes, as apps and mobile phones get faster and more potent. But just like before, they will require more digitally savvy workers to help make the whole infrastructure work.   

The only thing different is that the rise of 5G will also coincide with the rise of remote work. Workers for these organizations might very well be working from home, the coffee shop or even outside the country. They will be a distributed workforce and will redefine what “an office” is.

As Bahraini businesses become more mobile, remote work will flourish in the country. When you get fast service everywhere, you can work anywhere.

Remote work will be the way things are done. Remote workers will be working for organizations thousands of miles away. This is one of the significant upshots of 5G not just for Bahrain but for the rest of the world.

Kinetic Innovative Staffing (KIS) has seen this trend long before the pandemic and has positioned itself as one of the most trusted names in the industry. Our job is to help businesses find the most competent, yet affordable, remote workers who can contribute profoundly to their respective organizations.   

KIS helps make 5G work for businesses by helping them make cost-effective hiring decisions that increase their competitiveness in their field.   

Kinetic Innovative Staffing has been providing hundreds of companies in the Asia Pacific, North America, the Middle East, and Europe with professionals working remotely from the Philippines since 2013. Get in touch to know more.

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