Six companies have expressed interest in becoming the third mobile network operator in Bahrain, the smallest Gulf Arab economy, the country's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said late on Sunday.
TRA, which will appoint a consultancy agency to help in the award of the license, did not identify potential bidders.
TRA general director Alan Horne said interest had come from "a mixture of companies" both international and local.
Bahrain said in February it would sell the third mobile telephone licence this year to boost competition and help bring down prices.
The new operator would compete with Bahrain Telecommunications Co and a firm linked with Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Co (Zain) in the country of 1.05 million people.
The third mobile phone company would likely be a foreign investor, Middle East Economic Digest said in March, without giving a source.
States across the world's biggest oil-exporting region are opening up their telecom sectors as economic growth expands.