Why the weird title and why has HSDPA become a "snake"? No, Latvian readers who notice the hemp plants (kaņepes) of this summer standing tall, that is not the reason.
HSDPA becomes a snake in any mobile operator's garden for the simple reason that once you have HSDPA and Skype and other HSDPA or WiFi enabled laptops and phones on the network, voice calls with simply by-pass the GSM/UMTS pay per minute networks.
This, of course, can be technologically hampered, but that is the sort of thing that will simply anger customers and propagate various hacks of whatever it is that HSDPA connections do to prevent VOIP from working.
Clearly, it is every customer's dream and every operator's nightmare that using HSDPA or a Wi-Fi enabled phone, people will be able to Skype from mobile to mobile "free" just the way they do using Skype and other VOIP technologies through broadband providers who don't go apeshit over VOIP or haven't realized that they should.
So Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT), apparently getting the jump on Bite (which is launching HSDPA in September) has just announced it is "testing HSDPA" and that HSDPA cards will be available with its iBirojs (iOffice) laptop plus mobile internet package.
Well, good morning axehandle, as the Swedes would say (god morgon yxskaft). Now let's see whether Tele2 will also try to preempt any first mover advantage that Bite would have had going fully commercial with HSDPA in few weeks.
But my warning to all, if you do that, the snake is loose...
The neverending tale of whether anyone is out to get the remarkable Mr. Nils Melngailis (no allusion to the Remarkable Mr. Ripley is intended) continues. It now seems that the half-mother TeliaSonera was angered by Nils insisting that MicroLink (now Lattelecom technology) be divided among all the children and half-children. The half-mother, well aware long ago that monkeys would dance on the rings of Saturn before the Latvian government allowed it to buy both Lattelecom and LMT, wanted Elion, its more that 50 % owned Estonian telco, to buy all of Microlink. That would have left Lattelecom with almost jack shit in terms of IT implementation and consulting resources (Verdi having quietly gone to an obscure grave).
OK, as it turned out, according to some versions of what happened, Lattelecom did nearly end up with jack shit anyway after many MicroLink folks saw their trans-Baltic teams and other good stuff torn apart into three pieces. But now TietoEnator Latvia honcho Maris Ozolins has come aboard to put Humpty-Lattelecom-technology-Dumpty back together again, or at least mend some of the bigger cracks (since I don't think the big egg was totally shattered).
But aside from that, Melngailis was actually acting as a my-corporation-first manager, no matter what the shareholders said, since they would get the best value from a strong Lattelecom, both in terms of dividends and, when the time came for the half-mother to give it up, a high barter value for the rest of LMT.
Also, as I have written earlier, Melngailis has the vision of moving Lattelecom far beyond just a fixed voice operator, a description better written on a tombstone of f**ked companies rather than as a modern telco mission statement.