On Friday, August 19, Minister of Transport Ainars Slesers (Ok, no longer the Ayatollah) has called a press conference where Bite Group CEO Jesper Thiell Eriksen will participate. It appears Slesers will announce some kind of action plan to speed up and facilitate Bite Latvija's entry into the Latvian mobile market. Before that (the press event is scheduled for 1400 local) there will be meetings with the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission, Lattelekom, Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) and Tele2 to try to increase the number of allocated numbers for Bite Latvija and to speed up the signing of interconnect agreements with the other two mobile operators.
All of this is sort of sounds fine, except that as far as I know, Slesers doesn't have the power to pressure, much less order the private sector around (even if Lattelekom is 51 % state-owned). Least of all can he influence the independent regulator.
My sympathies lie with shaking up the market and getting Bite Latvija going so that LMT, for instance, no longer has it so easy making what amounts to fuck-you profits. This is based on the scale of big money, huge money, enormous money and what is called "fuck you" money, where you can afford to buy half the universe, disregard everything and have enough left over to say "fuck you" to anyone who tries to criticize.
The good thing about fuck you profits is that, well, you can stuff your shareholders to bursting with dividend cash and if they don't like your style, you just whisper, look at this money, and well, fuck you! And they smile shit-eating grins while they count money like Scrooge McDuck (the super-rich relative of Donald Duck).
The bad thing about fuck you profits is that, like the very pleasurable habit of self-abuse (or perhaps smoking dope), is that it makes you go blind. One fails to see the abyss beyond the blizzard of cash swirling around one's head. That means in just one or two steps, you can be at the other end of the scale, at fuckedcompany.com.
So far none of this is happening to LMT (except the fuck you profits), but there is a certain incipient arrogance about the company. Letting Bite Latvija loose sooner, rather than later, and with a bigger stinger, rather than a pinprick, may not be so bad for everyone. It would certainly shake the incumbents into at least trying to get a jump on Bite's very likely far lower tariffs, its flat rate business services, EDGE data from day one, etc. Tele2, for Christ's sake, has been leaderless for months in Latvia since Mats Tilly leaped off to Croatia. Johnny Svedberg, a major honcho from the big Tele2 in Sweden will be swinging through Latvia next week and this may be a chance to get a feel for what is going on.