Thursday, August 11, 2005

Lattelekom goes Boingo

No, Lattelekom definitely has not joined the Boingo WiFi hotspot subscription network. It has offered a subscription to its own 130 location network in Latvia, including Double Coffee ( a kind of Latvian Starbucks), various restaurants and hotels and Statoil gas stations around the country. For LVL 2.95 per month you get to log on anywhere for LVL 0.005 (that's half a santim) a minute. For LVL 10.95 a month you get unlimited access, sometimes at 2 Mpbs or even 4 Mbps, depending on what the hotspot has to offer.
Right now, at home, I pay around LVL 15 per month for 512 Kbps, which barely ranks as broadband in Scandinavia. So I am expecting a rise in speed or a cut in price for DSL, otherwise I move to Double Coffee down the street :).
Meanwhile, there are places like centrally-located Hotel Reval Latvia and the nearby Ridzene that offer WiFi as an amenity, for the price of a cup of coffee or a drink at the bar. For guests, it is free. This draws the WiFi battlelines in Riga. Then again, why not wardrive and see where else one can freeload? :)

1 comment:

mxz said...

You know, I remember posting a comment about Statoil uselessly offering the hotspot access. I thought - why would you ever want to connect while in a GAS STATION? Well, thing is - it has saved my ass quite often lately. I was driving throught Ventspils and thinking "Crap, where do I get on the internet... I MUST get on the internet now... shit." And then it struck me - Statoil! Oh my god, that's it. Within minutes I was there, bought the pre-paid whatever wi-fi card for 1 Ls, connected up, transferred the pictures and all was good.

I learned this: if it costs near to nothing and doesn't require hard work to set up - it is not wrong to provide some seemingly useless feature at some seemingly useless place, because coincidentaly someday something important may actually depend on it. Once a year, maybe, but still. If there is an emergency, you are more likely to find a Statiol gas station than a nearby "Starbucks".