Thursday, July 07, 2005

Triatel, Tele2 on the agenda?

On Friday (July 8), the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission will decide whether to put on the agenda for its July 13 meeting the matters of extending frequency use rights for cdma 450 operator Triatel and GSM/UMTS operator Tele2. In March, it seemed that, lacking some new rules, the frequencies used by both operators would have to be auctioned to the highest bidder. Well, there are no new rules yet, as far as I know, but Triatel, at least, isn't worried.
Top officials say they cannot imagine how the regulator can reject a proposed deal whereby Triatel essentially swaps a 450-453 Mhz band for a 453-457 Mhz band because, it appears, the government's frequency plan simply gave away Triatel's current bandwidth to the government's planned TETRA emergency radio network. Triatel wasn't warned two years ahead as the law states, but, hey, shit happens. So a ruling allowing use of 453-457 Mhz by Telekom Baltija, one of the partners in Triatel (a brand that looks and acts like a company :) ) would be very logical, especially since Radiokoms, the other partner behind Triatel, also uses it.
On the other hand, other sources aren't sure that everyone on the regulator's decision-making council is behind such a simple settlement. Indeed, it appears that Triatel was concerned about the possible outcome even to the extent of considering alternatives, such as suing the Latvian state for ruining its business (something that could be more profitable than running a minority standard mobile operator, considering Latvia's track record in internationa arbitration :) ). Now it appears that this is not a concern, although no one is bending over backwards to say that Triatel didn't consider this at some point.

Latvenergo and cable TV

Voldermars Plavoks, the head of Latvenergo Telekom, confirmed in an e-mail that the state-owned electrical utility had done some research on cable TV, mostly along the lines of offering carrier services to other operators. This could mean that Latvenergo is considering offering its network to operators who don't have coverage in certain areas of Riga. For example, there is only 1/3 of the city territory where the two major operators Baltcom and TeliaMultiCom overlap, hence there is no competition among the biggest players in much of the city. Latvenergo could make it possible for the overlap and the potential competition to be broader. We shall see what happens.

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