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Bahrain e-government services now on mobiles

15 June 2009

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The government of Bahrain is the latest country to introduce e-government services that can be accessed through mobile phones.

The mobile portal will allow anyone with a mobile phone to communicate with all government entities and avail of their services.

Bahrain e-government services now on mobiles
Image credits: Futuregov / Bahrain e-government services now on mobiles

The services, which have been specifically engineered for mobile phones, are accessible through a mobile version of the national portal to WAP-equipped phones, in addition to other services available via text message.

The initial phase of the mobile portal will include 11 basic government services, with 39 more to be rolled out by year’s end, taking the total to 50. The key services include enquiries regarding electricity bills and traffic contraventions, daily price index, flight information, school examination results and registration of complaints to government bodies.

South Korea was the first Asian country to embrace mobile government and introduced a plan in 2002 in which mobile phones, PDAs and other such devices would be used in implementing government services such as tax payments.

Japan, as a leading country in the use of third generation cell phones, finds the concept of m-government out-of-date and uses the term “ubiquitous- Japan” (u- Japan) instead. Under the u-Japan policy set to be accomplished by 2010, Japan aims to be a society where ‘ICT will be everywhere in daily life and can be easily used “Anytime, Anywhere, by Anything and Anyone.”’

Hong Kong and Taiwan have also had government-level initiatives aimed at using mobile government service. In the Philippines more than half of government departments use the mobile channel to deliver public services, which have evolved from simple information alerts to increasingly sophisticated transactions.

A number of Singapore ministries have also been quick to leverage the SMS channel. Singapore residents can choose to receive text message alerts for anything from renewal of road tax, public parking season ticket reminders, national service obligations, results of medical examinations for domestic workers, to passport renewal notifications.

Mobile services have also proven to be a convenient communication channel in times of crisis. At the height of the Sars crisis in 2003, the Hong Kong government sent an emergency broadcast to all 6 million mobile phones in the territory to provide information to the public and allay security concerns.

The government of Bahrain’s Cabinet Affairs Minister and Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology member commented on his country’s new mobile service: “Launching the mobile portal and CSCs are two of the basic components of e-government vision. By offering government e-services through multiple easy-to-access delivery channels, everyone is included, regardless of education, income, gender, age or nationality, with the aim to achieve quality and integration with a focus on customer satisfaction.”

Source : Futuregov

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