Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Here comes Triatel's Magic Bus

If this were a podcast, I would run "Magic Bus" by the Who in the background. Anyway, Triatel, Latvia's cdma450 operator, is planning to hit the Latvian countryside (the larger cities and towns outside Riga) with a bus or busses selling Triatel's complete communications solutions in a box.
The way it will work is that a bus, painted in Triatel colors and logos, will arrive stocked with mobile phones, wireless and laptop modems, and fixed wireless desktop phones, allowing small business customers to pick what they need, sign the necessary subscription papers, and have it all packed in a single box to be taken to the business premises, unpacked and "plugged and played" on the same day.
The company has determined that small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) outside greater Riga are going to be the core of its customer base. With 68 % of Latvia's territory and 80 % of the population to get coverage by the end of 2005, Triatel hopes that the "non-Riga" businesses will snap up its offering for a number of reasons:
1) Triatel is probably the only broadband alternative out there.
2) Triatel offers free calls within the company network (be it five or 50 phones, mobile or desktop wireless), voicemail and a web-configurable virtual PBX and call record tracking service.
3) Triatel offers super-cheap (by Latvian standards) international calling, with the US, for instance, for LVL 0.079 a minute (that compares with rates offered by some fixed line IP services that have been leafleting Riga mailboxes).

Already, around 45 % of the company's customers (said to number a few tens of thousands) are SMEs and this will be the future growth focus.
So far, nothing seems to have come of Lattelekom's plans to cooperate with Triatel on using cdma450 to complete the so-called digitization of the Lattelekom network. This may be happening unofficially, as at least one Lattelekom SME customer for whom no affordable Lattelekom solution was available was taken to see Triatel. In this case, while Lattelekom didn't get the subscriber, it did do a service for the (non) customer and build some good will. Pretty smart.

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