Bite Latvija's announcement that it will be launching UMTS using the state-of-the-art fastest HSDPA technology for data transmission has had a interesting knock-on effect on the wired internet connection market. Lattelekom is now saying it will roll out ultra-fast DSL (in the 10 Mbps to 10 Mbps) range later this year. However, they say this is inevitable even without Bite because there are some 200 competitors in Riga offering a variety of alternative connection speeds and prices. However, most of these are localized "Sharashkin's Offices" (an expression in Latvian derived from a Russian expression meaning a small, fly-by-night or perhaps, fly-by-twilight operation), whereas Bite's HSDPA coverage will attempt to be uniform for the whole city and several other Latvian towns, as well. With unlimited mobile internet costing the equivalent of LVL 20 per month on Bite's business-class service (business services will also be launched around the time Bite goes 3G), many people will be able to use the internet through their mobile phone at a speed several times higher than the 521 Kbps of Lattelekom's HomeDSL (2 Mbps for services in their "open garden"). HSDPA (did I spell that right :) ?) is supposed to deliver very high speeds, over 8 Mbps, perhaps even 20 Mbps, but that is in the laboratory, not in practice. But even 3 to 4 Mbps over a mobile link, anywhere, anytime (well, in Riga) for LVL 20 flat is a pretty good deal and it outruns even Triatel's nomadic 1 Mbps (perhaps 2.4 Mbps) service, that costs a little over LVL 25 monthly, plus the cost of a seperate wireless modem. With HSDPA, that comes with the 3G phone.
Generally, however, Bite doesn't expect 3G to take off in Latvia until 2010, when it will have 20 % penetration, and go mass market (over 50 %) in 2012.
Apparently Bite is counting on 3G to be a "force multiplier" for its business package, also due out in the first half of 2006. The business class service will offer, as it does in Lithuania, a privileged roaming service with Vodafone, basically offering one tariff for calls in most of Europe and an automatic link to Vodafone or a Vodafone partner whereever one is (no more making that first call from the airport with a superexpensive service that has a powerful base station just outside the terminal.)