Telia MultiCom turned into Izzi (a play on easy if you speak English like a Slavic villain in a James Bond movie -- it vud be izzi to kill you now, Meester Bond) and announced a triple play package of digital cable TV, wireless broadband ( 1 Mbps) and mobile telephone. The latter will be available in early 2006, as an Izzi pre-paid card and a post-paid service operatingon Bite Latvija's network (Bite, meanwhile, spent the day amusing and annoying downtown Riga with a drum corps under its banner, they even marched past the Izzi press conference).
I will admit to being blindsided. I thought that the company formerly known as Telia MultiCom would merely announce its new name (it is no longer owned by Telia, and the name has to go in early 2006) and that would be the end of it. As far as digital cable TV, it has been projecting a "we won't touch it with a ten-meter stick" image while secretly negotiating for its "interest group" program packages with content providers. They sure put me to sleep :). For LVL 4.00 a month, you get 20 channels from Izzi, including the Latvian public service and commercial ones, and for an additional LVL 1.50 per month, you can pick according to interests, Science & Sports (weird, but no World Bowling, no Discovery Civilization or whatever is the deal), the World (BBC World, Deutsche Welle, the Polish channel, etc.), Music, Film & Cartoons, Russian and Adult (XXX, for LVL 3.00).
The wireless internet service, available in the Riga area, is an out of the box cdma450 deal that will get you 1 Mbps for around LVL 29.50 per month, cheaper than the LVL 50 that Ultra DSL over a wire costs from Lattelekom, and somewhat more expensive than the LVL 23.60 you pay for Triatel's wireless internet, also launched on the same day. Guess who is reselling whom :)?
Further down the line, Izzi sees interactive digital and IPTV (to its cable internet subscribers and other broadband users who get a decoder card for their modems. Izzi thinks it will launch its IPTV service before Lattelekom's Apollo does, which is a pretty bold statement, except that it may mean that people in the business know that something is very seriously bumsen oben (that's how Google translates "fucked up" to German :) :) ). There is talk of a missed equipment delivery, I must gather the determination to call the poor guy in charge who blabbed back during the summer how all this was going to be up and running very soon. Instead, a silent disaster...no one writes about it – except this blog – but everyone senses it. Unfortunately, even grim and savage stories have to be told, as the late Hunter Thompson would say.