So here we are. In a few hours, as I write, number portability will become available in Latvia. There will probably be no rush to switch (mobile) operators, but there are certainly carrots to be waved.
Bite Latvija is offering a Nokia 6230i for LVL 1 for the first 1 000 "refugees" from another operator. It expects to repeat its Lithuanian experience, where more than 32 ooo of the 49 000 number porters went to Bite GSM.
Tele2 has launched its 3G service with videotelephony and, within the next couple of weeks, will also offer high speed, 3G data services (internet browsing via a phone connected to a laptop). The initial speed will be around 384 kbps, but 3G is theoretically capable of up to 2 Mbps.
Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) says around 1 million (!) holders of pre-paid cards are excluded from number portability and could only switch, keeping their numbers, by first becoming subscribers – something which may be possible for LMT O-Karte holders and the holders of Tele2's prepaids, but not virtual operator Zetcom's Amigo and Hello cards.
LMT will launch 3G data services and video calls shortly after the turn of the year, my sources say.
Meanwhile, Triatel has had its 1 Mbps (at best, 2.4 Mbps) wireless internet service available for a week and resold by Izzi, the cable TV and internet company formerly known as Telia MultiCom.
So let the party begin.